Do Hunger Strikes Work as a Strategy to Pressure the Cuban Government? / 14ymedio

Guillermo Fariñas, UNPACU Activist: “With this [hunger strike] I am giving the Castro regime leaders to decide if they want to assassinate me publicly.”

Eliécer Ávila, President of Somos+ (We Are More): “I don’t see how the death of leaders who should motivate people and push changes can be helpful.”

14ymedio, 10 August 2016 – This Tuesday, activist Carlos Amel Oliva has ended four weeks on hunger strike after spending the last five days in hospital due to the deteriorating state of his health. Eight members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) had seconded his protest and decided not to eat in solidarity with the opponent’s demands, including State Security returning his personal belongings, the confiscation of which he considered a violation of his rights.

On 20 July, regime opponent Guillermo Fariñas also began a hunger and thirst strike, for which he has received hospital care on several occasions in recent days. Winner of the European Parliament’s Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, he is demanding that the Cuban government cease its repression against dissidents and that the authorities agree to a dialog with the opposition. Continue reading “Do Hunger Strikes Work as a Strategy to Pressure the Cuban Government? / 14ymedio”

Ivan Hernandez And Felix Navarro Prevented From Leaving Cuba “A Second Time” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Ivan Hernandez Carrillo. (Twitter / @ivanlibre)
Ivan Hernandez Carrillo. (Twitter / @ivanlibre)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 11 August 2016 – Cuba’s immigration authorities prevented activists Ivan Hernandez and Felix Navarro from traveling outside Cuba this Thursday. The former prisoners of the 2003 Black Spring were invited to participate in the 2nd Cuban National Conference that be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 12 to 14 August, but were unable to board their flight at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, where they ran into Reinaldo Escobar, 14ymedio’s editor

The answer that each of the dissidents received on presenting their documents to the Immigration and Nationality official was: “You cannot leave a second time.” Continue reading “Ivan Hernandez And Felix Navarro Prevented From Leaving Cuba “A Second Time” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”

Don’t Give Away Your Life to Those Bastards, Compadre! / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

Carlos Amel’s hunger strike has continued for almost a month. (Twitter / UNPACU)
Carlos Amel’s hunger strike has continued for almost a month. (Twitter / UNPACU)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 9 August 2016 — I think I should say at this time what I think of the situation of human beings who are on hunger strike, especially my friend Carlos Amel.

In Somos+ (We Are More), being respectful of the decisions they took, we send them in their moment our messages of solidarity. Not because we believe that hunger strikes work as a method to achieve anything in Cuba today, but because it always seems unjust to us that ordinary people did not know what was going on and the reasons behind these extreme decisions.

Today, I want to express my personal opinion, as a friend. This is not an official statement of the President of Somos+, it is the opinion of Eliecer Avila. Continue reading “Don’t Give Away Your Life to Those Bastards, Compadre! / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila”

Neither Brave Nor Intelligent, Much Less Fair / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

Arrest of a member of the Ladies in White in Havana. (EFE)
Arrest of a member of the Ladies in White in Havana. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 28 July 2016 — On numerous occasions I have had to listen to the stories of friends and colleagues who have been detained or have been interrogated by the State Security. “These people are unreal, they know everything. The day I went to see so-and-so, what I said to what’s-his-face, what time, and even that we had coffee and ate roast pork. They don’t miss a thing!”

I imagine that these people feel very impressed, because it is as if they were sitting with a fortuneteller who “divines” their past, present and can even predict their future. The difference is that the fortunetellers, or so they tell us, “have a gift,” while State Security has human and technical methods and a society completely organized to facilitate their work, such that their gifts are simply their ears and a crystal ball made of optical fiber. Continue reading “Neither Brave Nor Intelligent, Much Less Fair / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila”

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”