14ymedio, Havana, 8 April 2016 – On Friday, State Security prevented attorney Wilfredo Vallin from leaving home to participate in a discussion on the Electoral Law. The meeting, to be held at the home of Eliecer Avila, leader of the independent movement Somos+ (We Are More), was hindered by the police who only allowed two of the participants to reach Avila’s home, according to the testimony of Rachell Vazquez, an activist in the group.
From the early hours, the police forces knocked on Vallin’s door in the Diez de Octubre district to warn him that if he left his home he would be arrested. The professor was to give the first training course for the promoters of the Otro18 (Another 2018) Democratic Platform, an initiative that is promoting a change in the Cuban electoral system.
Esperanza Rodriguez, the lawyer’s wife and also a member of the Cuban Law Association, told 14ymedio that the police did not allow them to meet their commitment. When they tried to cross the threshold of the building where they live, they found themselves “surrounded by an operation.”
To Vallín it is “obvious” that the authorities want to “prevent opponents participating in the Cuban electoral process.”
The Otro18 campaign, supported by 45 independent organizations within and outside of Cuba, promotes reforms of the laws governing elections, associations and political parties. Represented by government opponent Manuel Cuesta Morua, last week in Madrid the promoters of the initiative requested that the international community monitor the situation on the island because “the reform process undertaken in Cuba must address not only the economy, trade and investment sectors, but also the political sector.”