The Erased font


Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca
  • CountryCuba

Since journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca is currently imprisoned, his wife Eralidis Frometa Polanco has written this story in the name of her husband. Eralidis Frometa Polanco is also a journalist and advocates for her partner's release every single day.

I was summoned by someone pretending to be a police officer in the area where I live. After I arrived at the police station, I soon found out there was neither an actual summons nor an official. The policemen interrogated and pressured me to sign documents and give up my journalistic work. I was abused, accused of resistance and enemy propaganda. Five officials of the Provincial Court together with the general instructor of Villa Marista raided me with an arrest warrant, took my belongings and transferred me to an investigation centre where I lived in isolation for more than five months. Later, I was taken to a permanent prison.

The Cuban intelligence service, also known as the 'political police', uses the courts to censor journalists. The law is their instrument to legalise their abusive arrests. But the law is there to protect us, not to arrest innocent people. In my case, I was arrested on the orders of Raul Castro, a Cuban retired politician and general who served as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. For my YouTube channel Delibera, I reported on a protest where people threw pro democracy pamphlets from a building in Havana. I was arrested for ''enemy propaganda and resistance''.

My wife, Eralidis, initiated two lawsuits aiming to release me from prison. One for parole because I had already served half of my unjust sentence and the other for extra punitive leave due to my health conditions like kidney problems. Neither has progressed so far. In fact, I was transferred from a less strict prison to the maximum-security prison 'Combinado del Este’. 

I feel strong despite being here in prison. Despite the continuous harassment from the powerful top that decides what will and will not be said. Despite the government making an attempt to give up my ideals, beliefs and my work. It makes me stronger and more determined to demand the enshrined rights of my people.

Being here makes it difficult for me to keep doing my job. I can and am not allowed to write from here but I still try to do it. Other prisoners keep an eye on me and sometimes they steal my written letters. For example, they took away the letter that I wanted to send to the Organisation of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

"Still, I manage to get information from prison that my wife, who is also a journalist, passes on to the independent and international media and other institutions. It is vital that dictators are exposed. This is the only way we can correct the flaws in the entrenched social systems and move towards a better world for all."

—Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca

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