A Journalist who had told US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents and the Department of Homeland Security that he was Attacked in Guyana by intelligence operatives with the supposed blessings of both the Cuban and the Guyana Government will now be deported since the allegations that were associated with his asylum application were rejected by the United States.
The Journalist, Serafín Morán Santiago, who is a Cuban citizen, one of whose parents is said to be Guyanese, claimed that he was tortured for writing articles that are not favourable to the Cuban government and was thus expelled to Guyana where he decided to continue his work.
But the journalist had alleged that he was brutally attacked and targeted in Guyana too, and thus fled o Mexico where the attacks continued. It is unclear whether he holds Guyanese citizenship or residency.
He added that he had fled from Guyana and Mexico because he had feared for his life.
However, while it is said that his allegations are credible, the Donald Trump Administration does not feel that the lives of journalists are so much at risk in Guyana, and is not sure if there was a credible risk to his safety in Cuba either, as is being claimed by Mtr. Santiago.
As a result, the journalist asylum application was denied and he was placed in the custody of US Immigration authorities who are now making moves to deport him to Guyana or Cuba.
However, several human rights and journalism organizations, including the respected international Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) are cautioning the US against deporting him to Guyana or Cuba, since in their view he would not be safe here either. (See a link to their post on his case HERE)
Previous news reports which stated that Mr Satiago was granted asylum in the US have turned out to be a hoax.
Nonetheless, a source at the Ministry of the Presidency who works within the presidential media unit told this publication in an invited comment via WhatsApp this morning that she is shocked at the allegations, while reiterating that whoever says that the Guyana government endorses attacks on media workers will not be speaking the truth, and is ‘certainly trying to make the Guyana government and the country look bad’.
As such, she is challenging the Journalist to say when and where the ‘supposed’ incident(s) had occurred in Guyana.
In her view, the claims made by the Journalist to US immigration authorities must have been ‘misrepresented’ to support his asylum application, since, as far as she is concerned, the claimed attack on Mr Santiago in Guyana is highly unusual, and unheard of, until now.
Despite this, the claims made by the Journalist had already made its rounds on the international scene, including the United Nations Correspondents Association, UNCA, and can have a negative impact on future journalism reports on Guyana.
Cuba has been repeatedly accused of detaining and targetting journalists whose writings are contrary to the likings of the government.
Guyana has a large Cuban community, and many international journalists believe that him being attacked in Guyana by Cuban government sympathizers is a strong possibility.