“Bringing notepads and pens with slogans in favor of democracy and human rights into Cuba has always been considered a ‘subversive’ activity by Cuba’s 57-year-old dictatorship,” said Javier El-Hage, HRF’s chief legal officer. “Oscar and Yoandrys join an endless list of brave activists who are treated like criminals for daring to bring information from the outside world to ordinary citizens in Cuba. If Raúl Castro really wants to show tolerance and openness, he should begin by dismantling the regime’s repressive structure that prohibits people to think for themselves,” added El-Hage.
Milian and Gutiérrez were released six hours after their arrival in the Cuban capital and were never informed of the reason for their arrest. The activists brought promotional materials for the Mesa de Diálogo de la Juventud Cubana, which included items such as pens and notebooks with the organization’s logo. Customs officers at the airport confiscated everything. The leaders of the organization, Kirenia Yalitz and José Rolando Casares, told HRF over the phone that confiscating items is common, especially when they belong to activists and members of the opposition.
Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.
Contact: Noemi Gonzalo-Bilbao, (212) 246-8486, firstname.lastname@example.org.