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    We’ve Been Investigating Ivan Garcia for Five Years

    “We’ve Been Investigating Ivan Garcia for Five Years” / Iván García

    Iván García Quintero, Havana, 19 March 2017 — When the summons arrived
    for an interview with a police official, the girl’s puzzled family
    thought it was a mistake.

    Let’s call them Kenia, Pedro, and Camila. They are neighbors of mine and
    prefer to remain anonymous.

    Kenia was summoned to a police station on Finlay street, in the
    Sevillano District, near the State Security barracks known as Villa Marista.

    “When I arrived, the man started harassing and threatening me, saying
    that I hung around with foreigners. Then he wanted to get information
    about Ivan García, ’a known counterrevolutionary that we’ve been
    investigating for five years.’ He wanted to know details about his
    private life, about where he got the money to repair his house. He also
    asked my opinion about his work as an independent journalist. At one
    point he described him as a ’terrorist’ and said that both he and his
    mother were ’conspirators.’

    “I was in a state of shock. I told him that he is a friend of mine and
    my family, and that if what he said is true, why didn’t he arrest him.
    The officer who interviewed me— young, hostile, and with a military
    haircut — replied that for now they had no evidence, but they were
    contacting people like me to collaborate with them and give them more
    information. I refused to be an informant,” says Kenya.

    They were more direct with Pedro. “They accused me of giving
    confidential information to Ivan Garcia. I told them that I had been
    retired for four years. They threatened to open a file on me for
    collaborating on some of the news stories written by Ivan. At the end of
    the meeting, they warned me to be careful not to say anything to Ivan,
    because ’he might get off scot-free, but you, Pedro, old as you are, you
    could die in jail.’”

    Without providing any evidence, they issued Camila a warning for
    harassing tourists and prostitution. “I didn’t sign it. But they told me
    that if I keep associating with Ivan I will be prosecuted for
    prostitution. I was accused of pimping and, together with Ivan, of
    controlling several prostitutes who, in return for money, offered
    information about their work. All that is a scandalous lie. Out of fear,
    I promised to delete Ivan’s phone from my contact list. ”

    All three were warned that they would soon be summoned again. I told
    them that when they were, to let me know so I could go with them. If you
    want to know about me, cite me; it is despicable to intimidate innocent
    people.

    In March 1991, four years before I began writing as an independent
    journalist at Cuba Press, I was detained for two weeks in a cell at
    Villa Marista, the headquarters of the State Security Department. They
    accused me of “enemy propaganda.” I was never tried, but beginning in
    1991, for whatever reason, I was detained.

    Then there was a period of less harassment until October 22, 2008, when
    at the intersection of Prado and Teniente Rey, a Colombian colleague
    handed me some books sent by Ernesto McCausland, a prestigious Colombian
    journalist, writer, and filmmaker (deceased in 2012). The Colombian and
    I were arrested by the police and placed in a patrol car. He was
    released immediately, but they took me to the station at Zanja and
    Lealtad and kept me in solitary confinement for 11 hours. I recounted
    this in State of Siege.

    Two years later, August 2010, brought the first harassment by Military
    Counterintelligence. I was then writing for El Mundo.es/América, which
    published three denunciations, the first titled Citación oficial. Three
    years later, I would again be harassed by the secret police. On February
    18, 2013, Diario Las Américas published, on its front page, “Las
    Américas Journalist harassed by the Cuban government.” Continuing
    evidence of this remains posted on the blogsite Desde La Habana.

    State Security knows where to find me. They have my phone number and the
    address where I live. I wait for them.

    Translated by Tomás A.

    Source: “We’ve Been Investigating Ivan Garcia for Five Years” / Iván
    García – Translating Cuba –
    translatingcuba.com/weve-been-investigating-ivan-garcia-for-five-years-ivn-garca/

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