Cuban Government Blocks Several Guests From Entering Cuba For The
Oswaldo Payá Award / 14ymedio
14ymedio, Havana, 21 February 2017 – The Cuban government has mobilized
in the last hours to prevent several guests from arriving in Havana to
attend to Oswaldo Paya Award ceremony, scheduled for tomorrow,
Wednesday, at 11:00 am. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon has
been the most recent to make public that Cuban immigration authorities
did not allow him to enter the country.
"We are informed by Immigration of Cuba that passenger FCH is not
authorized to enter Cuba and request that he not be documented on flight
AM451", Calderón published in his Twitter account transmitting the
message that the Aeromexico airline gave him.
For the moment, Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confined itself
to regretting the decision of the Cuban government not to allow the
entry into its territory of the ex-president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa,
through the Ministry's official Twitter account.
Calderón is the third case known today, after those of independent
journalists Sol García Basulto and Henry Constantin Ferreiro, who were
prevented from traveling from Camagüey to Havana. In addition Mariana
Aylwin, a former Chilean Minister, was prevented from boarding a plane
in Chile to travel to the Cuban capital on Monday, to collect the
posthumous award for her father, former President Patricio Aylwin.
The entry veto augurs diplomatic consequences, as Bachelet's government
has already announced that it will call Chile's ambassador on the island
to protest the decision. "The Government of Chile deeply regrets the
situation that has affected former minister and former parliamentarian
Mariana Aylwin being prevented from traveling to Cuba," the Foreign
Ministry said in a statement.
"The problem was fundamentally the visit of Almagro. I had my tourist
visa. I had problems checking in and I went to the airport early, where
they told me I was would not be admitted to Cuba," Aylwin told 14ymedio.
The Cuban government notified the Chilean Foreign Ministry that her
visit was not welcome. However, Mariana Aylwin no longer holds positions
in the Chilean Administration. "As I do not represent the Government, I
decided to go as many democrats came to support our struggle during the
dictatorship," she explained.
The former secretary of state explained that she would receive the award
given to her father "for the defense of democratic values."
"It's an arbitrary act, I deeply regret it because my dad opened
diplomatic relations with Cuba and now they do this," she said. Aylwin
described what happened as an "act of a dictatorship and
incomprehensible in the 21st century," and recalled "when, during the
time of Pinochet, there were many Democrats who wanted to come to give
us their solidarity who also could not enter Chile."
"That is the difference of a democracy and a dictatorship. They are
afraid of everything that opposes them in their arbitrary desires, they
own the truth, they impose themselves by force," she said, although she
admits that the country's situation hurts more than her personally. "It
hurts me a lot more that there is repression in Cuba than that I am
prevented from coming. Be of good cheer!!! There are many of us who are
with you," she told this newspaper.
Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late opponent Oswaldo Payá, has
denounced the decision taken by the Cuban Government and has made public
the document delivered to the former Chilean minister at the
airport. The text reads "Do not approve nor send the passenger [Mariana
Aylwin] who is inadmissible in Cuba."
Payá, who leads the initiative Cuba Decides, which calls for holding a
plebiscite on the island to initiate a transition to democracy, lamented
what happened and added that "now more than ever we have to work to
recover our nation hijacked by an elite never chosen by anyone."
In addition to these actions, travel bans have also been imposed on
journalists Henry Constantin Ferreiro and Sol García Basulto. Garcia
Basulto, a correspondent for 14ymedio in Camagüey, was detained until
six o'clock in the morning, while Constantin Ferreiro is still being held.
García Basulto explained that both were arrested inside Ignacio
Agramonte International Airport when they were preparing to take a
flight to Havana that departed at midnight Monday. Police seized her
"cell phone and several documents" that she carried with her, she
explained via telephone.
After the arrest, García Basulto was transferred to the third Police
Station in the Montecarlo District, where she remained until being
released shortly before dawn.
Last November, the Garcia Basulto remained under house arrest for
several days while the caravan with the ashes of former President Fidel
Castro was traveling across the country. On that occasion State Security
agents guarded her door to prevent her from leaving.
Constantin Ferreiro's mother declared at midday that from seven in the
evening on Monday, "the police had set up an operation around the house
but he had already left for the airport."
Constantín, who was named last December as regional vice president for
Cuba for the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), also serves as
director of the magazine La Hora de Cuba and at the time of his
appointment at the IAPA he committed to disseminate " The reality of
journalism "in the island. The organization has issued a press
release condemning Constantin's detention, demanding his immediate
release and calling on the Cuban government to guarantee freedom of the
press and expression.
In addition, Rosa María Payá informed 14ymedio that Cuba Decides
coordinators in Holguin Province, Julio Cesar Alvarez and Felix Fara,
were arrested on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Payá said that
Álvarez was arrested "just after" she called him to invite him to
Thanks to some relatives of the activists, she learned that they are
still being detained as of Monday at the Holguín City Security Unit and
that their wives were warned not to approach the place to find out
anything because they would also be detained.
The first ceremony of the Oswaldo Payá "Liberty and Life" Award is
scheduled for Wednesday, and Luis Almagro, secretary general of the
Organization of American States, and, posthumously Patricio Aylwin
Constantín, will be honored.
The award recognizes "persons or institutions, whose career or concrete
action have highlighted the effective promotion and defense of human
rights, life and democracy." The award is a project of the Latin
American Network of Youth for Democracy, led by Rosa Maria Payá. The
entity brings together members of civil society, political parties and
student organizations in more than twenty countries in the region.
Source: Cuban Government Blocks Several Guests From Entering Cuba For
The Oswaldo Payá Award / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -