Independent journalism in communist Cuba is not for the faint of heart

Cuban independent journalist Roberto Jesus Quiñones Haces

Facing constant harassment from State Security, beatings, imprisonment, forced exile, and even death, it takes a lot of courage to be an independent journalist in Castro’s Cuba.

Via El American:

‘It Takes Courage to Do Independent Journalism in Cuba’: Former Political prisoner

Cuban political prisoner Roberto Jesús Quiñones Haces, who is about to release two books in Miami, one of them a collection of poems entitled Escrito desde la cárcel, told EFE his admiration for those who practice independent journalism in Cuba and his concern about what the new penal code has in store for them.

Exiled in the US since 2021 and contributor to the Miami news portal Cubanet since 2012, Quiñones, twice imprisoned in Cuba, presents this Friday in Miami a revised and expanded edition of his poetry collection Escrito desde la cárcel, as well as a book of short stories, La chica de nombre eslavo.

This is the first time that this 65-year-old lawyer-turned-journalist and resident of Virginia has had his books presented in the United States and, as he says in an interview with EFE, he feels “hopeful” to meet with people he loves at the event, which will take place at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami.

Quiñones expressed his admiration for those who continue to exercise independent journalism in Cuba. In addition, he says he is “concerned” about the coming into force of a new Criminal Code introducing a provision that allows for the prosecution of those who receive money from abroad. It is a “warning” to journalists who work outside the official media, he says.

“It takes courage to do independent journalism in Cuba, it is very difficult, I admire those who continue to collaborate and write from there,” he stresses.

According to him, it cost him “many arrests and imprisonment” to exercise the “fundamental human right” to freedom of expression.

When asked if he would return to Cuba, he said he will not give the government the “pleasure” of banning him from his own country, which he considers a “gross violation” of human rights.

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