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Cuban journalist arrives in US in ‘forced exile’

A Cuban journalist arrived in the United States on Wednesday in what he called a "forced exile" from the Caribbean nation

Lazaro Yuri Valle Roca had recently served three years in prison for “the alleged crimes of ‘enemy propaganda and resistance,'” according to Cubalex, a human rights group based in Miami, Florida, home to a large diaspora from the communist-run island.

“It is a forced exile, I had to leave. If I go back to Cuba, I’m not going to prison — I’m already dead,” Valla Roca told reporters upon his arrival at Miami International Airport.

Exiling dissidents has long been a political strategy in Cuba, run by a communist government since the 1959 revolution of Fidel Castro.

Several artists and intellectuals who were members of the San Isidro Movement, which in November 2020 led an unprecedented protest in front of the Ministry of Culture, had to leave Cuba and are barred from returning.

According to human rights groups and the US Embassy, Cuba was holding around 1,000 political prisoners as of last year.

Valle Roca’s wife, who arrived in the United States with him, met with EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore during his two-day visit to the country in November.

Mass protests in 2021 led to the jailing of some 500 people, some for terms of up to 25 years, while human rights organizations put the number at 700.

According to human rights groups and the US Embassy, Cuba was holding around 1,000 political prisoners as of last year.

Platform with AFP

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