«I already found my daughter Camila», he says on the other end of the phone, with a slight tone of relief, Orlando acosta. It is 10 at night in Cuba (four in the morning in Spain), and the journalist’s father, who was arrested on Monday after covering the protests for ABC and the independent media Cubanet, has spent the whole day on one side to another from Havana looking for her. “He is in the police station October 10,” says Orlando, who had been told a few hours before that his daughter was in another detention center, the feared and questioned 100 and Aldabó, where she had supposedly been transferred from the Infanta and Manglar police station.
This was what the agents of the center had notified him when he tried, for the second day in a row, to see Camila and send her some personal items – useful for cleaning and clothing. “They lied to me,” complains Orlando, who after moving to the new address, two hours away from the previous one, had to wait several more hours until they told him something about his daughter’s true whereabouts. “There were large lists of arrests, and there were no computers. This did not look like a 21st century scene but a WWII scene. There were many tables, many lists on which the names were misplaced. If they had told me, I would not have believed it. At least now I know where it is, “he tells ABC, somewhat calmer after days of anguish. Remember that at the beginning of arriving at the center he asked and asked for the name of his daughter, and it did not appear. The chaos was so great. It seemed that they were playing with me. The order they had, as they later confessed to him, “was to say that she was not there.” Not to give any information about the journalist.
The surreal and desperate situation led Orlando to confront the agents and tell them that if they did not tell him where his daughter was “I would denounce that she was missing”. After issuing this ultimatum, he headed for the exit and began his return by car. “Then they sent me several patrol cars to intercept us. They took me to the center and told me that they could tell me where Camila was, ”she says. The Cuban independent journalist had been transferred to the 10 de Octubre police station, one of the centers – along with the Capri station, the Vivac and 100 center and Aldabó, the headquarters of the Technical Directorate of the National Police – where dozens have been transferred. detainees this week.
Orlando got back in the car again and headed for this new destination, “where They were already waiting for me, as if they knew me». And where, he assures, they treated him better. “They allowed me to leave the objects I was carrying for my daughter, although I was missing some, like flip-flops,” she laments.
No call until Monday
However, he could not see her. The family has not had any communication with the journalist since her arrest. Camila Acosta will not be able to make her first phone call until next Monday, as her father was told on Wednesday. “They will let him speak for five minutes, and if he attends (behaves well), ten.” That day will be seven days after the arrest and investigation, in which she has been charged with the charges of “contempt” and “public disorder” for recording the demonstrations that took place in Havana last Sunday, the day on which It unleashed a wave of mobilizations across the island to protest the economic situation and the health crisis caused by Covid-19, which is going through its worst moment. “Cubans are demanding their freedoms,” defends Camila’s father, who also has no evidence that his daughter has had access to a lawyer.
His own personal tragedy makes Orlando shudder at the thought of what other families are suffering. «I have seen very ugly scenes (in the center 100 and Aldabó). I am Cuban and I think about how many parents will have their children there. I did not like what I saw, “he concedes.
Yesterday was a tough day for Orlando. Also this Wednesday she could not pick up her things or those of her daughter from the apartment where she rented and from which It has just been evicted, once again, by order of State Security. He, who was visiting because he resides in the United States (Camila cannot leave Cuba because it is ‘regulated’), has had to seek refuge in the house of a friend, “a good Cuban.” This Friday she planned to return home (on Monday, when she was arrested, Camila accompanied her father to have a PCR test), but she will not do so while her daughter is arrested. A situation that could be prolonged depending on whether she goes to trial and is convicted of the crimes for which she is accused (the penalty ranges between 3 and 6 years). “I’m not leaving, even if that means I lose my residence in the US,” he says bluntly.
We let Orlando rest, tomorrow he will return to the police station on October 10 to bring more things to his daughter, among them, her flip-flops.