Cuban Officials Are "Intimidation Professionals"

The Associated Press has reported on Cuban police accusing blogger Yoani Sanchez of illegal activity.

I swear I haven't run a green light, nor have I bought cheese on the black market for more than two months, and I have not walked out of any store without paying. I don't recall having violated the laws-too much-these last days, not even by passing myself off as a foreigner to use the Internet in some hotel.

I have, however, a citation, along with [my husband] Reinaldo, for tomorrow at the police station at 21st and C in Vedado. I wonder if I should bring a toothbrush or if I will get only a brief box on the ears.

Below is the official document I received from a sweaty official who ascended the fourteen flights of stairs, since I haven't had an elevator for a month.

At nine in the morning I'll know what it's about; wait for my news after two.


At nine in the morning an official looks, with boredom, at the citation we have presented at the door of the 21st and C station. We are left waiting on one of the benches for about 40 minutes, while Reinaldo and I take the opportunity to discuss all those things the dizziness of daily life always keeps us from talking about. At 9:45 they take my husband, asking first if he has a cell phone. Ten minutes later they return and take me to the second floor.

The meeting is brief and the tone energetic. There are three of us in the office and the one who raises his voice in song has been introduced as Agent Roque. To my side another, younger one, watches me and says his name is Camilo. Both tell me they are from the Interior Ministry. They are not interested in listening, there is a written script on the table, and nothing I do will distract them. They are intimidation professionals.

The topic was as I expected: We are close to the date for the blogger meeting that, with neither secrecy nor publicity, we have been organizing for half a year; they announce we must cancel it. Half an hour later, now far from the uniforms and the photos of leaders on the walls, we reconstructed an approximation of their words:

We want to warn you that you have transgressed all the limits of tolerance with your rapprochement and contacts with counter-revolutionary elements. This totally disqualifies you for dialog with Cuban authorities.

The activities planned for the coming days cannot carried out.

We, for our part, will take all measures, make the relevant denuciations and take the necessary actions. This activity, in this moment in the life of the Nation, recuperating from two hurricanes, will not be allowed.

Roque stopped talking-nearly shouting-and I asked if he would give me all this in writing. Being a blogger who displays her name and her face has made me believe that everyone is willing to attach their identity to what they say. The man lost the rhythm of the script-he didn't expect my librarian's mania to keep papers. He stopped reading what had been written and shouted at me even louder that, "They are not obliged to give me anything."

Before they send me off with a "get out of here, citizen" I manage to tell him that he won't sign what he told me because he doesn't have the courage to do it. The word "Cowards" comes out almost in a guffaw. At the bottom of the stairs I hear the noise of the chairs pushed back into place. Wednesday has ended early.

This was cross-posted on Yoani's blog here.