Wave Of Arrests Against Activists Seeking To Prevent A Youth Congress / 14ymedio

Amel Carlos Oliva, youth leader for UNPACU. (Somos +)
Amel Carlos Oliva, youth leader for UNPACU. (Somos +)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 July 2016 – This Sunday several independent organizations are holding the first Cuban Youth Congress in the city of Santiago de Cuba, under heavy police pressure and after dozens of arrests. Among those arrested is the activist from the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) Amel Carlos Oliva, who was arrested last Thursday, according to sources from UNPACU.

Oliva’s family and friends told 14ymedio that they lost telephone contact with the dissident hours after he met in Havana with Eliecer Avila, president of the Movement Somos+ (We Are More), an organization also participating in the youth event. Continue reading “Wave Of Arrests Against Activists Seeking To Prevent A Youth Congress / 14ymedio”

The Cuban People Are Packing Their Bags / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

"Obama Help Us." Cuban migrants stranded in Central America. (File sputniknews)
“Obama Help Us.” Cuban migrants stranded in Central America. (File sputniknews)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 3 July 2016 – A great deal has been written in recent months about the permanent crisis of Cubans stranded in different Latin American countries. Those living outside the island and the few “connected” (i.e. on-line) within it, are certain to have read some of the news and have access to the emotional videos circulating which include ones of families with little children desperately asking for a way out that will allow them to reach the United States.

The truth is that the governments of the countries involved seem to be determined not to cooperate in any way to address the current wave of immigrants. Cuban’s own foreign minister took on the task of persuading them in a tour of the affected countries and managed to get a unanimous commitment for the sake of the “security and stability” of the region. Continue reading “The Cuban People Are Packing Their Bags / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila”

Meeting in New Jersey with Eliecer Avila this Saturday / Somos+

13220111_10207578844722699_1539987182_nSomos+, 17 May 2016 — On Saturday, May 21, at 2:00 p.m., at the Club Cubano de New Jersey (New Jersey Cuban Club), the president and founder of Somos+ Political Movement, will give a lecture about current issues in Cuban society. After several months of efforts, this meeting is possible thanks to the cooperation of the members residing in the U.S. You are all invited to this meeting and debate. Hoy Somos+.

For Mima, the Best Kiss… / Somos+

Somos+, Eliecer Avila, 8 May 2016 — First of all I want to send a huge kiss to all the mothers of the world, and especially the Cuban mothers, many of whom cannot sleep peacefully knowing that a mysterious black wolf called State Security stealthily monitors their young children day and night.

Among these mothers is mine. Or all of mine… because I have several. The one who gave birth to me from whom I was separated by divorce when I was three (although we still see each other), the one who raised me, my grandmother (Mima), my aunt Arelis, perennial guardian of the entire family; at least two memorable stepmothers whom I love very much, and dozens of mothers who have appeared to me recently because according to them they pray for me every night and have adopted me as their son.

But today I want to talk about Mima, because she is now almost 70 and every day she fills my thoughts. It has been five months since I last saw her, because of the 450 miles that separate us since the end of 2013 when I came to live in Havana. At times it’s hard even to talk on the phone because I know that sooner or later she is going to ask the question that causes a lump in my throat, “M’ijo… when are you coming?” Continue reading “For Mima, the Best Kiss… / Somos+”

Why Is the Official Press Crying Over the Fall in Oil Prices? / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

Nicolas Maduro enters the SAAC (South America and Arab countries) Summit on Wednesday in Riyadh. (Presidential press)
Nicolas Maduro enters the SAAC (South America and Arab countries) Summit on Wednesday in Riyadh. (Presidential press)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 26 April 2016 — All of my life I’ve heard from mouth of the main leaders of the country that the high prices for many of the products sold in Cuba are caused, among other variables, by the “high cost of fuel on the world market.” This, according to them, raises the price of production processes inside and outside the country, creating an upward spiral that affects the price of goods and services.

“What small and underdeveloped economy can grow with prices of 126 dollars barrel of oil? Only rich countries can pay that, those who want the world to continue to be the same so that the South can’t develop. The imperialists are like this, they want to dominate the world according to their own desires.” Phrases like these were heard everyday on TV programs like The Roundtable.

Today, oil prices have fallen by nearly 75 percent, and the newspaper Granma acknowledges that this affected the recently announced “price adjustments” of certain products the government sells in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC).

Then, I wonder: What are Oliver Zamora Oria and all official Cuban journalists who speak on the subject doing accusing U.S. and Saudi Arabia of “not cooperating” with the intention of some OPEC members to increase prices ? Isn’t Cuba, a net importer of fuels, greatly benefited, like most of the planet, by the current prices?

In my opinion, we should be jumping for joy, because I assume that if we can afford cheaper crude oil, then the agricultural sectors , transport, energy, industry etc. will be stimulated… What is the point of the strange anger of the Cuban Government press about the failure of the last meeting held in Doha, Qatar?

Many can be the interests that move the editorial decisions of the media monopoly in Cuba. But, definitely, the general interests of the nation and a greater benefit for the public are not part of them.

Translated by Alberto

This Time I Reached Pinar de Rio / Somos+, Eliecer Avila

 

Somos+, Eliecer Avila, 26 April 2016 — The last time I tried to meet with several families in this province I was forcibly  “deported” by State Security agents, who told me I was “persona non grata” in the territory. It is very likely that no citizens had heard of the action taken against me, because today I noted the astonishment and indignation of many upon learning those facts. “You are welcome here and everywhere,” I was told by the wonderful people who welcomed me this time.

Obviously, State Security and the Communist Party do not represent the views of the vast majority of the Cuban people. I think they no longer represent even those of their own members. So they try at all costs to prevent the average Cuban from encountering the new proposals. This repressive and fearful weapon can delay the process, but never stop it. Continue reading “This Time I Reached Pinar de Rio / Somos+, Eliecer Avila”

‘The Window’ Opens In Cuba / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, 22 April 2016 – A new TV program, La Ventana (The Window), debuted in Cuba on Thursday, the work of the young artist Ignacio Gonzalez, director of the project En Caliente Prensa Libre (Free Press in the Heat of the Moment).

The program highlights the professionalism of the set as well as the technical team. In a small and modest space they managed to create the conditions for the production of news, analysis programs and interviews. With value added by editing and set design, they are ready to compete not only with national programs but also with those produced outside the country. Continue reading “‘The Window’ Opens In Cuba / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila”

Official Cuba’s Fear of Obama / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

National television devoted several minutes to discussing the Cuba’s colonial past to avoid addressing Obama's visit. (@yoanisanchez)
National television devoted several minutes to discussing the Cuba’s colonial past to avoid addressing Obama’s visit. (@yoanisanchez)

Cuban TV gives Obama’s visit less importance than a potato planting event

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 March 2016 — The coverage provided by Cuban media and Telesur on US President Barack Obama’s arrival in Cuba on Sunday was absolutely disrespectful, not only to him and with regards to this historic event, but to the millions of families who were glued to their TVs waiting for the “special minute by minute broadcast” which was previously announced and which, as a kind of mockery, could be read only on the sliding tickers at the bottom of the screen.

After showing a few minutes of the landing of Air Force One and the greeting from Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Telesur abruptly cut away for a special “analysis” delivered by the journalist from the Roundtable program, Arleen Rodriguez, along with two rancid anti-Americans, one Cuban and the other Continue reading “Official Cuba’s Fear of Obama / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila”

Somos+ Activist Applies to be Repatriated to Cuba / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar

Iliana Hernandez was the victim of a brief arrest in Cuba on March 8. (Facebook)
Iliana Hernandez was the victim of a brief arrest in Cuba on March 8. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, 14 March 2016 – The activist Iliana Hernandez has taken one of the most difficult decisions of her life, to resettle in Cuba after almost two decades living abroad. Nationalized with Spanish citizenship, the dissident has begun the paperwork to return to the island and continue her work in support of a democratic change within, according to what she told 14ymedio.

Hernandez published her decision on the social networking site Facebook, shortly after having been released after an arbitrary arrest on 8 March. The detention occurred when State Security stopped the car in which she was traveling, accompanied by Jose Daniel Ferrer, along 5th Avenue in Havana. Continue reading “Somos+ Activist Applies to be Repatriated to Cuba / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar”

Gang Warfare In Havana / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

Gangs are usually made up of children, often under age 14 (Frame / ARTE)
Gangs are usually made up of children, often under age 14 (Frame / ARTE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 8 February 2016 – A few nights ago my wife and I arrived in an almendrón [old American car in use as a shared-taxi] at the Ceiba little park just before the traffic light at Via Blanca and Lacret, in Havana. We we usually get off there when we are going home from El Vedado, in a line of collective taxes headed to La Vibora.

The unwelcome surprise that night was to find ourselves almost in the middle of a pitched war at 1:00 in the morning. At Bella Vista and Via Blanca two gangs of children – for the most part; many of them weren’t even teenagers – were facing off with stones, sticks, bottles, and some carried machetes nearly as big as they were. Continue reading “Gang Warfare In Havana / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila”

Somos+ (We Are More) Holds Convention Despite Police Operation / 14ymedio

A police patrol at the corner by Eliecer Avila’s to prevent the arrival of guests. (14ymedio)
A police patrol at the corner by Eliecer Avila’s to prevent the arrival of guests. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 14 January 2016 – The Somos+ (We Are More) opposition movement held its national convention Thursday, despite the arrest of several participants and a strong police operation around its site in Havana. The home of Eliecer Avila, leader of the organization, was surrounded by several police patrols at dawn, and only those who entered the home several hours or days earlier were able to attend.

Despite the obstacles, Somos+ issued a statement announcing,”We are holding the convention!” The activists were referring to a meeting held on 14 January to decide on the program ahead of time. The speeches, lectures and presentations were digitized to be able to project them in case their protagonists were not able to arrive at the site.

Groups of government sympathizers, dressed in plain clothes, threateningly warned off any curious person who wanted to take pictures around the site, or access the house on Esperanza Street in the Cerro district, where the event took place. Continue reading “Somos+ (We Are More) Holds Convention Despite Police Operation / 14ymedio”

Police Warn Eliecer Avila That Somos+ Convention Will Not be Allowed / 14ymedio

The police enter the home of Eliecer Avila to arrest him.
The police enter the home of Eliecer Avila to arrest him.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 11 January 2016 – The repressive actions against the Cuban opposition were repeated this Sunday across the country. It is estimated that more than 200 activists were arrested, according to independent reports. The police also arrested Eliecer Avila, the leader of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement, and warned him that they would not allow the annual convention of his organization, planned for 14 January, to be held.

In Havana, the Ladies in White marched as they do every Sunday on Fifth Avenue, in the west of the capital city, accompanied on this occasion by two dozen activists. At the end of the pilgrimage they were violently arrested, according to testimony from witnesses at the scene. Continue reading “Police Warn Eliecer Avila That Somos+ Convention Will Not be Allowed / 14ymedio”

Somos+ Prepares for its Convention Under Police Harassment / 14ymedio

Eliecer Avila and the organizing committee for the Convention of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement
Eliecer Avila and the organizing committee for the Convention of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 January 2016 — The independent movement Somos+ (We Are More) is experiencing intense days as its annual convention approaches, due to a strong police operation against its members. The arrest of activist Joanna Columbie last Thursday in Santiago de Cuba, raised the tension around the event scheduled for 14 January several degrees.

Police pressure has included threats to the majority of Somos+’s members living in Cuba, and police warnings that the meeting would not be permitted. The national coordinator of the group, Manuel Diaz Mons, was also arrested and later released, after an exaggerate options in which several vinyl posters with the Somos+ logo were confiscated. Continue reading “Somos+ Prepares for its Convention Under Police Harassment / 14ymedio”

A Year That Counts in Our Favor / Somos+, Eliecer Avila

Eliecer Avila, 31 December 2015 — To offer a comprehensive summary of the work realized by the Somos+ movement in 2015, we would need the pages of a book. Thus, I will only try, in a strong exercise of memory, to highlight some details and successes of our recent history that characterize the performance and demonstrate the character of our members and leaders at this stage.

Earlier this year, we agreed that for us this would be “the founding year.” Then we adjusted our objectives to consolidate a small effective team of competent and committed people to work in a disinterested way to promote the ideas that gave birth to our organization.

To achieve this, we knew it was necessary to count on information media that was read and respected by a great number of Cubans within and outside Cuba, so that they themselves would become the bearers and diffusers of our message. Only then could we make ourselves known and reach all corners of the country and the world. Continue reading “A Year That Counts in Our Favor / Somos+, Eliecer Avila”

One Year of Relations. Now What? / Somos+

Eliecer Avila (l.) and his father

Somos+, Eliecer Avila, 17 December 2015 — Today marks one year of the historic reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States. At this point, although it’s true that there has been no notable change in the quality of life of Cubans nor the state of their rights, what has been shown is that the only obstacle to achieving development and prosperity in the nation is our own government.

Today, it would be unjustifiable to do what was quite comfortable just yesterday: blaming everything on the Empire of the North. However, the fundamental challenge is for millions of Cubans, who today are convinced about what the problem is, to assume the historic responsibility of working towards the solution and not to continue running away from a reality that will chase us wherever we go, in one way or another. Continue reading “One Year of Relations. Now What? / Somos+”