2020, Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces, a trained lawyer, poet, and journalist with CubaNet, is currently serving a one-year sentence since September 11, 2019 on charges of “resistance” and “disobedience.” Quiñones allegedly committed these crimes during an unjustified five-day detention starting April 22, 2019. He was detained and beaten for five days after covering the prosecution of Pastors Rigal and Expósito for homeschooling their children in Guantánamo. Radio Martí has a recording of Quiñones speaking about his beating here. In June 2019, GLA agreed to work on his behalf. Fined for his alleged crimes, Quiñones refused to pay. He was cited for failure to pay in August 2019--incidentally, just a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his concern for the journalist in a phone interview. Quiñones appealed his initial sentence, but his appeal was rejected and he was imprisoned on September 11. On April 1, 2020, One Free Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists featured Quiñones as one of 10 journalists worldwide suffering from persecution of the press. On April 27, Quiñones's son issued video statements in Spanish and in English calling for his father's release; and on April 29, GLA applied for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. See more details below.
A Poem by Roberto Quiñones
“La prisión” (2001)
La prisión es el viejo Enrique
gastando el tiempo
tras colillas de cigarros.
Es Pompi el haitiano
invocando a sus ancestros
mientras sus ojos parcelados por barrotes
se estiran hasta el cielo.
La prisión es el odio en la mirada
el rancho podrido que te sirven
la añoranza por los hijos
la cábala nocturna cercenada con golpes
en las rejas
y reflectores que tajan la noche
y las desesperanzas.
A nadie importan los ojos extraviados
de los presos
sus manos huérfanos de abrazos
sus sueños o sus lágrimas
mientras una esquirla de sal
les viene a horadar el alba.
Ellos solo tienen una vida gris
como la humanidad de sus jueces.
Si amanecen muertos serán
un velorio desconocido
como nuestro sufrimiento.
Prison is old Enrique
after butts of his cigars.
It’s Pompi, the Haitian,
calling on his ancestors
while his eyes, broken up by bars,
stretch to the sky.
Prison is the hatred in a look
the old slop that they serve you
missing your children
the night Kabbalahs pierced by blows
on the bars
floodlights that slice through the night
No one cares about the wayward eyes
their hands orphaned from human touch
their dreams or tears
while a grain of salt
drills through the dawn.
They only have a gray life,
like the humanity of their judges.
If they’re dead in the morning, they’ll be
an unknown wake
like our suffering.