“Independent journalism is playing a very important role and its importance will increase, it has an important role in the battle for a better Cuba, for a democratic Cuba, for Cuba with everything and for the good of all people. We [independent journalist] embody a small oasis; once I said it in an interview that I had in Spain; a small oasis of democracy, a small air of democracy, a small decoy of what would be a democratic Cuba, a better Cuba. Why? Because all the independent journalism that we insist on, means a libertarian challenge to the information monopoly that the system owns. We are the voice that opens new ways, a gap in the middle of all totalitarianism, of all the social control that exists in Cuba. The government´s interest is to keep this social control tight, so that Cuba never changes, so that Cuba never has a democracy, so that it does not become a better country. Our battle represents an attack on their privileges, against the privileges of this caste that has been enthroned to the power in Cuba. And it is convenient to remain cystic, because they continue with a lot of prerogatives. The common people have no chance to improve their situation. Independent journalism has an extraordinary value in that and thanks to the internet independent journalism is opening new paths.”
“And if for example I would be imprisoned, because the State Security has threatened me countless times, and they express it openly: ´We can put you to the prison for any crime.´ They don´t tell me what crime I am committing; they say they can put me in the jail for literally any crime, let´s understand it like this - they can invent any crime for me. So, since I´m so vulnerable, of course they can do it. If they invent me some crime, they can imprison me for two or three years. What would happen to my children? How would suffer my mother and my wife? From what money will live my children, when life is so difficult in Cuba, because with one job you can't maintain your home? So, it is very difficult, it is kind of complicated situation, it is the weakest point of us [opponents of the communist regime]. They know it and they exploit it a lot. They try to make a psychological war, threating whole families, all mothers, exploiting this pain, to see if they manage to decimate our willingness to do the right thing - and to do, what Cuba needs, do the best, make the sacred battle as useful as possible, I consider this battle sacred, to achieve a better Cuba, a democratic Cuba. I think I am contributing to this. Thanks to that I feel useful, I can sleep peacefully, because I feel that I am helping from my position with my little grain of sand for a better Cuba.”
“I was selected for a training course in Prague, but my passport was retained by the Cuban authorities, I don't think it was a coincidence. My passport stayed hidden in a drawer and they didn't want to give it to me. At the end I couldn't participate in this course. Afterwards, they explained me, that it was a mistake, that they had not put it to the documentation where they should have placed it. And I could not travel to Prague, to participate on the first course on audio-visuals, that would have been so great for my journalistic work! Another incident happened, when I came from Spain and I was about to leave for Peru. I began to receive some signals through my neighbours, who told me: ´They are talking about you, they are saying this and that and other things,´ sowing the state of opinion. Later, in November , at the airport of San Martí in Havana I could not travel again, they told me that I am regulated and could not board the flight to Lima.”
“Many of my journalist topics have been influenced by the problematic of the rural industry: the situation of tobacco workers, the price of tobacco that affected so many people in the rural sector, many indebted peasants due to the inexpert management when the company has constructed prices of commodities, the bureaucracy of the mediating companies - between cooperatives or between the farmer and the cooperative, and those state-owned companies that are in the middle hindering the entire production process. Because with so much bureaucracy the peasants reach acceptable conditions when they no longer need them; bank loans that do not arrive on time or are not approved in a right manner. All of this affects production. All mentioned issues have been reflected in my journalistic work. The fact of living in the countryside, experiencing tobacco fields and peasant life in its particularity has greatly influenced my writing style and is present in my articles, this problematic of peasant life I deal with is very present. It's the reality.”
Osmel Ramírez Álvarez was born in 1975 in Mayarí, Cuba - a very rural region. He studied biology at the University of Santiago de Cuba and finished his studies in 1998. However, his career as a biologist was not long. At the end of the new millennium‘s first decade, he became a journalist, a logical step since he has always been interested in sociology and political science. In 2016 he collaborated with one of the most important digital magazines opposing the communist regime in Cuba, the “Havana Times.” A year later, in 2017, he joined another independent digital news media, the “Diary of Cuba“ [Diario de Cuba]. For his activities as an independent journalist, he has been labeled an opponent by the Cuban Government. For this reason, he has been constantly monitored and controlled by State Security and he and his family have suffered several threats. Osmel also faces restrictions of free movement and cannot travel abroad for more than 700 days. He has also experienced arrests and house inspections. Despite all of these difficulties, he continues to fight for the rights of each person by publically denouncing human rights violations on the internet. He lives with his children and wife in Mayarí.