14ymedio, Havana, 30 December 2016 – Cuban Faces of 2016: Joanna Columbié’s baptism by fire began in September of 2015, when the dissident was detained to prevent her participation in the 2nd National Council of the political movement Somos+ (We Are More). With degrees in History and Nursing, Columbié was working at that time as an education methodologist in the municipality of Céspedes in Camagüey. Police pressures led to the loss of of her state job.
Columbié runs Academy 1010, an independent educational project that seeks to develop leadership skills among its students with a view to the nation’s political future. In the opinion of the opponent, “it would be a fatal mistake to come to democracy with people not prepared to assume it.”
Last November, the second session Academy 1010 was severely suppressed by State Security and several students were arrested. Columbié denounced the police siege. She is a member of the opposition Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD) coalition and participated as an observer in the referendum on peace accords in Colombia.