Miami — After 19 days in a Cuban jail, Antonio Rodiles, the Cuba-based independent producer of the Emmy-nominated TV Martí program Estado de SATS, is a free man. Charges of “resisting authority” were dropped after the prominent opposition leader paid a nominal fine on Nov. 26.
“(My arrest)has made me feel stronger about the mission for Cuba’s future; it is certainly not a deterrent in what I want for Cuba,” Rodiles said in an interview with the Martís shortly after his release.
“The job that we do cannot be deterred by this type of action,” he added. Rodiles said he felt a strong sense of solidarity from supporters and thanked his elderly parents for their support, noting the incident was stressful for them.
“We are happy about the release of Mr. Rodiles and we look forward to the day when he and others like him can express themselves freely without fear of persecution,” said Carlos García-Pérez, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
Rodiles, who was beaten during his arrest, told the Martís it was the diligence of his attorney, Amelia Rodríguez Cala, that led to his release. Rodríguez Cala, well-known for taking on political cases on the island, argued repeatedly that there was no evidence to justify Rodiles’ confinement and sought a quick release.
A strong critic of the Cuban government, Rodiles is one of the coordinators of Citizen’s Demand for Another Cuba (Demanda Ciudadana Por Otra Cuba), an initiative that seeks the ratification of international treaties on human rights.
Rodiles was one of 27 dissidents who were arrested by Cuban authorities Nov. 7. Among them: blogger Yoani Sánchez; Guillermo Farinas, recipient of the European Union Sajarov Award; and at least five members of the group known as the 75, who were arrested in 2003 during Cuba’s Black Spring. All were released several days later.
Rodiles is the creator, producer and presenter of Estado de SATS, which airs weekly on TVMartí. Made in Cuba, with wrap-around segments produced in Miami, the program tackles the realities and challenges faced by Cubans. It was nominated for an Emmy this fall by the Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.