Hablemos Press correspondent arrested in police raid on his home in Cuba
He was held for more than 10 hours, during which he was questioned by State Security Department officials. The police said they had information that he was harboring a fugitive from justice, which he denied. Silva believes that the raid was aimed at intimidating him after he reported on unexplained deaths in Holguín province.
It was not the first time the authorities had turned the screws on the journalist. Last year, his professional equipment was seized in a raid. His computer, cell phone and cameras, as well as files on human rights in Cuba, were removed.
“Reporters Without Borders condemns the arbitrary arrest of José Leonel Silva Guerrero,” said Claire San Filippo, head of the organization's Americas Desk. “The authorities must put a stop to the intimidation and harassment of independent journalists and bloggers.”
Independent Cuban journalists and bloggers still have to face death threats, intimidation, smear campaigns, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and even physical attacks.
Those who work for Hablemos Press are particular targets for the authorities' hostility. Their equipment has been seized and their cell phones cut off. They have been summoned by the State Security Department and ordered to change their editorial line.
This month, Hablemos Press reported that another of its correspondents, Ricardo Sánchez Tamayo, had been summoned and detained by the police and that a smear campaign had been launched against reporter Magaly Norvis Otero.
Silva was arrested the day before a mirror site of Hablemos Press website was launched by Reporters without Borders as part of operation “Collateral Freedom”, launched on World Day Against Cyber-Censorship on 12 March. Inside Cuba, Hablemos Press has been blocked since 2011. People can now access the mirror site here.
In 169th place out of 180 countries, Cuba is the lowest-ranked country in the Americas in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.