HAVANA TIMES – Journalist Maykel Gonzalez Vivero, director of the Tremenda Nota website, learned Monday that he will not be able to travel outside Cuba by decision of the Ministry of Interior (Minint).
The restriction was communicated to him when he went to inquire about his status at a Minint office located in Havana. The reporter was scheduled to travel on Monday night to Madrid.
“The exit bans have become so common among journalists that I decided to check beforehand to see if I was on a list,” he said.
Also prohibited to travel on Monday was Nelson Julio Alvarez Mairata, an LGBTI youtuber who has recently worked as a reporter for digital publications such as Tremenda Nota and ADN Cuba.
Alvarez suffered two arrests a few weeks ago by State Security, in which he not only lost his work devices, but his profiles on social networks were used to publish homophobic texts and intimate images.
The youtuber found out that he could not travel when he was at the Jose Marti International Airport to take a flight to Panama and continue traveling to Bogota.
“There is no legal process against me,” Alvarez told Tremenda Nota.
“What has happened to me is not new, it has already happened with many colleagues. Now it was my turn to be grounded,” he said.
“The exit bans have several purposes: to punish and discourage above all, but also to force you to dialogue with State Security,” said Maykel Gonzalez.
The reporter has also received anonymous messages by email and chat containing threats, including physical violence.
“On November 22 they wrote me from a Facebook profile, probably false, that insulted me for my sexual orientation and threatened to beat me. The specific motivation was never clear,” said Gonzalez, who has also worked as a human rights defender for the LGBTI community.
Other LGBTI reporters, such as Ezequiel Fuentes, have recently been attacked on social media with references to their sexual orientation and private life.
Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla told The Associated Press in October that he did not know the reasons for exit bans. “We’d have to look on a case by case basis,” he said, avoiding the issue.