14ymedio, 10 September 2016 — Shortly after returning to Cuba on September 7, the activist Sirley Ávila learned that her house, located on a farm in Las Tunas province, had been occupied by another family. “This house was a ‘basic medium’ and it has been given to us,” the new inhabitant of the property told her when Avila reclaimed his home. The former People’s Power delegate for the 37th District in the Majibacoa municipality began her activism to denounce the closure of a school in her locality. Today she is a member of the opposition group Republican Party of Cuba.
The dissident stayed in the United States for six months, where she received treatment for the physical scars left by a violent machete attack – in which she lost a hand, among other injuries – which she attributes to Cuban State Security, which determined to punish her in this way for her political activism.
Avila explains that her attacker has been released and is proclaiming that he now has the opportunity to finish his “unfinished work.”
In a telephone conversation with 14ymedio, Ávila reports that although the land belonged to the Institute of Hydraulic Resources, being near a dam, she built her house in 2011 with her own resources and with the permission of the Institute for Physical Planning.
“On leaving for the United States I did the paperwork required to transfer ownership to my son, but when he went to get the papers he was told that the record did not appear,” she says. In her opinion, the authorities are intending, with this decision, to start “a judicial process that can take years” so that she will decide to stop living in Cuba and finally emigrate.
This coming Monday Sirley Ávila will file a legal claim in the housing offices in the province of Las Tunas.