Ruling that granted asylum to Blade contributor from Cuba appealed

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Yariel Valdés González, a Washington Blade contributor from Cuba who has asked for asylum in the U.S., speaks with Blade International News Editor Michael K. Lavers on Aug. 2, 2019, from the Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La., where he remains in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. ICE has appealed an immigration judge’s ruling that granted him asylum last month. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

An immigration judge’s ruling that granted asylum to a Washington Blade contributor from Cuba has been appealed.

Judge Timothy Cole on Sept. 18 granted
asylum to Yariel Valdés González, who suffered persecution in his homeland
because he is a journalist.

ICE reserved the right to appeal Cole’s ruling within 30
days. Lara Nochomovitz, Valdés’ lawyer, on Tuesday told the Blade that ICE
appealed the decision.

Valdés, 29, entered the U.S. on March 27
through the Calexico West Port of Entry between California’s Imperial Valley
and Mexicali, Mexico. ICE on May 3 transferred Valdés to the Bossier Parish
Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La., from the Tallahatchee County
Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Miss.

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported
roughly 8,000 of the 51,000 people who are currently in ICE custody are in
Louisiana.

Valdés throughout his detention has documented the conditions in which he and his fellow detainees are being held. The Miami Herald and Diario las Américas, a Miami-based Spanish-language newspaper, are among the other media outlets that have covered Valdés’ case.

Cuban government ramps up persecution of journalists

The Cuban government since the beginning of this year has
increased its persecution of independent journalists.

Roberto Quiñones, a reporter for CubaNet, a Miami-based website that covers Cuba, on Sept. 11 began to serve a year-long jail sentence after authorities in April arrested him while covering a trial in the city of Guantánamo in eastern Cuba. Authorities on May 8 arrested Luz Escobar, a reporter for 14ymedio, an independent website founded by Yoani Sánchez, a prominent critic of the Cuban government, as she tried to interview survivors of a freak tornado that tore through parts of Havana in January.

The Cuban government on the eve of the Feb. 24 referendum on the country’s new constitution blocked access to the website of Tremenda Nota, the Blade’s media partner on the island to which Valdés contributes. Cuban authorities on May 8, the same day when Escobar was arrested, did not allow this reporter into the country after his flight from Miami landed at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.

Valdés told the Blade after Cole granted him asylum in the U.S.
that he hopes he “can start my life over in this country.”

The Blade has reached out to ICE and the Department of Homeland
Security, which oversees the agency, for comment.

The post Ruling that granted asylum to Blade contributor from Cuba appealed appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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