Journalist Elaine Diaz Arrested In Baracoa While Reporting On Hurricane Matthew
14ymedio, Havana, 12 October 2016 — The journalist Elaine Diaz, director
of the independent media Periodismo de Barrio (Neighborhood Journalism),
was arrested Wednesday morning in Baracoa, Guantanamo province, while
covering the damage left by Hurricane Matthew. The reporter was
accompanied by several members of the editorial board of her
publication, who also have been arrested, according to a family source
who confirmed the information with the site Cubanet.
Diaz, along with nine other journalists, traveled to eastern Cuba after
a fundraising campaign that allowed her to support a journey to the
areas most affected by the hurricane. This morning the reporters were
intercepted by police and authorities who warned them they they would be
deported to Guantanamo City, said the same source.
Among the detained journalists were Monica Baro, Julio Batista
Rodriguez, Thomas E. Perez and Geysi Guia.
The latest publications from the Periodismo de Barrio (PB) team date
from Tuesday when they loaded a photo onto their Facebook page from “the
furthest east of Cuba.” Diaz explained that some of them would try to
reach the village of La Maquina, in the Maisi municipality, while
another group would leave for Imian, Baracoa and Parque Alejandro de
The last message published on PB’s twitter account confirmed that they
had reached the most eastern area of Cuba, where electricity service was
beginning to be restored.
Hours later the PB Facebook profile published a message in which it
claimed that the reporters were well and in the city of
Guantanamo. “Tomorrow we leave for Havana. These days expect our team as
usual: JOURNALISM. All efforts should be directed to continue to support
the victims of Hurricane Matthew,” concluded the brief note.
Periodismo de Barrio is a journalistic nonprofit organization led by
Diaz, who graduated in journalism from the University of Havana in 2008
and later served as an assistant professor in the faculty of
communications at that university.
Diaz sought permission “fruitlessly, to reach Baracoa and work from
there,” explains CubaNet, but the authorities are only allowing
accredited media access to the area, such as foreign correspondents
based in Cuba and the official press.
The arrest of Diaz and her team comes amid a bitter debate over the
legitimacy of small independent publications born in recent years on the
island. Official government voices have chosen in recent weeks to
maintain Communist Party control over the press and to close ranks
against non-government media.
After Hurricane Matthew several independent journalists who planned to
approach the eastern part of the country have suffered threats and arrests.
The reporter Maykel González Vivero, who was also in Baracoa reporting
for the portal Diario de Cuba, was arrested and spent three days in a
cell, as denounced by the journalist’s mother.
The Patriotic Union of Cuba has also reported that several of its
activists who maintained a flow of information on Twitter about the
affected areas have been victims of arrests, seizures of their work
equipment, and forced deportations away from the affected zone to other
parts of Cuba.
Source: Journalist Elaine Diaz Arrested In Baracoa While Reporting On
Hurricane Matthew / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba –