URGENT: Imprisoned Cuban journalist needs help

ADN Cuba Statement on arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of citizen journalist Esteban Rodríguez

Rodríguez was unlawfully charged and jailed for participating in peaceful protest


Activist and ADN citizen-journalist Esteban Lázaro Rodríguez López has been detained since April 30 after he was arrested in a peaceful demonstration in Havana.

After several days in a situation of ‘forced disappearance,’ Rodríguez was permitted to call his wife, Zuleidis Gómez Cepero on May 9, in which he confirmed he was being held in “Villa Marista,” headquarters of the Cuban Department of State Security (DSE). 

Still, Rodríguez’s family have not been allowed to see him nor have they been duly informed of the criminal proceedings the regime is taking against him for the alleged crime of ‘public disorder’ and ‘resistance.’

Rodríguez’s arbitrary detention, along with a dozen others who were arrested with him, occurred during a demonstration repressed by forces of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), Prevention Troops (Army), and the DSE.

Rodríguez and other activists wanted to go to San Isidro Movement’s (MSI) headquarters to check on the health of artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who had already been on a hunger and thirst strike for several days.

Faced with military forces obstructing their access to Alcántara’s house at 955 Damas Street, Esteban Rodríguez and others sat with clasped hands and practiced civic and peaceful disobedience in a small park on Obispo and Aguacate streets.

Join us by taking a stand for the freedom of Esteban and his fellow journalists imprisoned in Cuba.

While he remained on the ground, along with other activists, Rodríguez explained that his only interest was to see Alcántara. However, their demands were ignored and instead, the regime forces detained them with violence, amid the protest of dozens of passers-by.

Images captured of the April 30 event depict a civilian-clad political police officer applying chokehold-like techniques to restrain Rodríguez’s speech.

Despite these events, a Havana court dismissed the habeas corpus appeal filed by Cubalex, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that offers legal advice.

The Department of Specialized Confrontation of Crimes against State Security requested provisional imprisonment for Rodríguez, and the official state press controlled by the Cuban Communist Party began a campaign against him, portraying him as the mastermind of the spontaneous protest.

The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and NGO Article 19 are just some of the organizations that denounced the recent violations against Rodríguez.

The young activist and citizen reporter hosts ‘El Barrio Habla,’ a space for live broadcasts on ADN Cuba’s social media platforms through which Rodríguez interviews democracy activists in Cuba and promotes stories of vulnerable Cubans without housing and victims of landslides, poverty and other common problems.

ADN Cuba asserts that Cuban government agents have detained Esteban Rodríguez without cause, besieged his home, and cut off Internet access specifically because of his work in the independent press.