São Paulo, July 26, 2023—Spanish authorities must investigate threats made to exiled Cuban journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa and ensure his and his family’s safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, July 25, two unidentified men with Cuban accents threatened Jiménez as he was walking home with his two-year-old son in Barcelona, according to news reports and the journalist, who spoke with CPJ by phone.
Jiménez, who also posted about the encounter on Twitter, said that the men shouted at him, “Abraham, we know you are close to your home.” The journalist was not able to see their faces but said he could hear them laughing as they walked away from him and his son.
“I was so afraid because I was with my son that I didn’t know what to do,” he told CPJ. He wrote on Twitter that the scene reminded him of his life in Cuba.
Jiménez is a freelance Afro-Cuban journalist, co-founder of the online narrative journalism magazine El Estornudo, and a columnist for The Washington Post.
He left Cuba in September 2021 following persistent harassment from authorities in retaliation for his critical coverage, and received CPJ’s 2022 International Press Freedom Award for being a prominent outspoken voice within Cuba’s media community.
“We are concerned by the threatening comments made to Cuban journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa,” said Cristina Zahar, CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator. “Spanish authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the threats against Jiménez and his family and make sure they remain safe. It is incumbent upon Spain and other European Union countries to ensure the safety of journalists who are facing threats within their borders.”
The journalist told CPJ that he did not report the threat to the police because he did not know who his aggressors were. In an email to CPJ after publication, the Barcelona police said the journalist must file a complaint to trigger an investigation.
Jiménez told CPJ that this was not the first time he has been threatened by individuals with Cuban accents. In March 2022, during a panel in Amsterdam, one Cuban man asked to speak from the audience and tried to discredit him, claiming that everything he said was a lie.
“When the panel was over, he sought me out and offended me until the event organizers got him off my back,” he said. In June 2023 during Madrid’s Book Fair, a man with a Cuban accent also followed and photographed him.
In October 2020, Cuban authorities detained and interrogated Jiménez over his work. Shortly thereafter, he published a column in The Washington Post titled “If this is my last column here, it’s because I’ve been imprisoned in Cuba,” where he described his interrogation.
Jiménez was the winner of the 2023 Michael Jacobs Traveling Writing Grant, and was also chosen as one of five young journalists to receive the One Young World award this year.
Editor’s note: The eighth paragraph has been updated with a response from the Barcelona police.