The Country Where Time Stands Still – María Elena Mir Marrero

María Elena Mir Morrero in front of a brick wall.
Photo: Private

Since the 1960s, freedom of expression in Cuba has been severely limited. The country lacks both the legal and the practical tools required for people to be able to form opinions on political issues, and it is very difficult for journalists to report on the situation in the country.

María Elena Mir Marrero is a human rights defender who has been fighting for freedom of expression and association in Cuba for many years. She is the leader of a movement working for democratisation. Because of her commitment, she has been arrested several times, banned from leaving the country and repeatedly threatened and harassed. In September 2019, the police broke into her home and seized all her valuables.

A high price

“Throughout my life, as I have worked peacefully to change the political system in Cuba, I have been subjected to oppression and repression, both physically and mentally.

This repression, which is conducted with strength and intensity, is a direct attack on the exercise of my freedom of expression.

In November last year, when I was organising a national meeting, I was severely exposed by the political police. Although we were eventually able to conduct the meeting, most of the purpose of the meeting was destroyed when the police seized and arrested most of the participants and seized our material.

With this, the repression intensified and took two directions: towards my freedom of movement and my freedom of expression. It is not only intended to hinder my civil and political actions, but also to destroy my ability to act at all.

In addition to the systematic harassment, which includes detentions, interceptions of my telecommunications, and physical and mental violence, I can add a burglary that I was subjected to in September when I was robbed of my work belongings and valuables.

These examples are a series of systematic repressive measures to silence my voice, and part of the oppression of independent civil society and to silence the democratic voices in Cuba. I am, like other representatives of Cuban civil society, one of the selected victims of the state’s attacks on freedom of expression in Cuba.”

Read more

Read more in our status report about the five people who have paid a high price for their freedom of expression and the situation in their countries here.

Read more about the campaign here.