Argentine reporter Carolina Barros (left) interrogated and harassed
by Cuban State Security for friendship with Yoani Sanchez (right)
At 11:45pm and 11:48pm on November 2, 2011 Yoani Sanchez sent out two tweets that cried out with both outrage and anguish: "Come get me! And do not punish those who I love! Cowards! How it OUTRAGES me that they punish others for speaking to me, giving me friendship, loving me."
She then linked to an article in Spanish titled Message for The Third Eye of G2 by the Argentine journalist Carolina Barros that dealt mostly with Venezuela and her e-mail being hacked. G2 refers to the Cuban state security service and the last paragraph of the article offered a revealing insight into what awaits a traveler to Cuba seeking to learn about the real island and not the regime manufactured fiction:
I was in Cuba in January of 2011 I was visited in the hotel where I stayed in Havana by two envoys of the Castro government (one in the uniform of a lieutenant colonel and within the Ministry of Interior, the other presented himself as political police) to question me about my friendship with Yoani Sanchez and to warn me that although Cuba was a free country, tourists should not get mixed up with dissidents. It should not surprise me that my mailbox is in the cross hairs of some quasi-editors, quasi devious journalists: Cuba's ambassador in Argentina is committed to giving notice to the CEO of Grupo Ambito, the newspaper group where I work, that my reports are biased and that those related to Cuba distort reality. He has also sent letters in which he said that Yoani Sanchez, my friend, is not known by anyone. So, be careful. As much as it seems to be, sometimes nothing is as it seems. Especially when the ominous year 13 heralds winds of change.
The regime in Cuba is accustomed to intimidating into silence those in the press that criticize it because the dictatorship has often been successful. They miscalculated in the case of Carolina Barros and they should have known better. Carolina Barros, among her other duties, is the editor of the Buenos Aires Herald.which was founded in 1876. During the military junta in Argentina approximately 30,000 were disappeared [extra-judicially executed and buried in mass graves] the only local newspaper that told the story of the forced disappearances. Despite death threats against the journalists and their families and some of them having to go into exile the paper maintained its critical stance. Incidentally, it is worth pointing out that the Castro regime had a close working relationship with the military junta and assisted efforts to block its condemnation at the United Nations Human Rights Council.