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Meet Abraham Jiménez Enoa (@JimenezEnoa), a Cuban journalist and 2023 Oslo Freedom Forum speaker.

Jiménez Enoa knows quite well what it looks like to live under a Communist regime, growing up in a family of senior military figures in the Cuban government. His grandfather, for instance, served as a bodyguard for Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

He abandoned his Communist family ties, becoming a journalist — he’s a columnist for the Washington Post and a co-founder of El Estornudo, the first independent Cuban magazine dedicated to literary journalism — he knows what it’s like to pay the price for leaving: He was forced to flee to Spain in 2021, where he now lives in exile.

“I was put under house arrest. My phone was bugged. I was later arrested, handcuffed, strip-searched, and questioned by security officers. Then they secretly filmed me and put my image on television, claiming I was a CIA spy,” Jimenez Enoa told VOA. “Later, they telephoned me and said I had to leave the country or they would put me in prison and ‘terminate’ my family and the family of my wife.”

And so he left — but continued to write about it.

In 2022, he was awarded the CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award. He also wrote about it in “La isla oculta” (The Hidden Island), a collection of stories of ordinary Cubans living under the dictatorship.

“I tell a bit of what life in Cuba is like, what life was like during my childhood, my youth. How I became a journalist, what it’s like to be a journalist in Cuba, how I left Cuba, why I left Cuba, in which manner,” he said. “So it is a journey forward and a journey backward as well. It’s a journey toward capitalism by someone who doesn’t know anything about it. But it’s also a journey from the Cuban dictatorship, towards other dictatorships: The dictatorship of consumption, the dictatorship of racism, of xenophobia, of the West, in some way.”

Jiménez Enoa and other changemakers will be sharing their stories on the Oslo Konserthus stage this June for the 15th annual Oslo Freedom Forum.