Leaving the Footprints of Some First Steps / Somos+, Niurvys Roca

Somos+, Niurvys Roca, 22 June 2015 — I inserted a flash drive in my old and slow computer, and a young man’s image appeared, nothing special about it except for his courage in questioning the limitations that we Cubans must endure. I admit that I had to contain an exclamation. Until that moment, I did not think anyone capable of revealing our problems in such a bold way, direct and honest. The next morning, people were talking about it, in whispers, in the schools, on street corners, and even at my workplace.  Later, a silence took over and everything seemed to return to normality — not because it is normal, but because it is the same, that which involves despair, denial and sadness.

Many years after connecting that flash drive, a young man I barely knew asked me, “Do you remember Eliécer Ávila, that guy from the University of Information Science (UCI)? He has a proposal that you should read.”

I thought that Eliécer had been “disappeared,” and I confess that I was very happy to find out that he was active, because this was about a hope for changes for my country. The young man continued, “He’s started a movement called Somos+, but…you know…without Internet access it’s almost impossible to hear much from them. I’ve heard that there’s a girl in Spain who helps out. I’ll try to get in touch with her.”

Meanwhile, a group of friends and I would gather to discuss how we could help Cuba in any way possible and, suddenly, that young man who was now well-known to me, said to me, “We have contact with those who are supporting the movement from abroad!” I knew than that we should take part in our country’s history, and that it was the perfect opportunity to get involved.

Today we really are more, and so many more are joining that, when I try to recall those early days when there were hardly ten of us in exile, it is almost impossible not to share the excitement. I remember a comment about how we should be called “Somos-” [“We Are Less”], which hurt me at that time, but now I laugh about it because time puts everything in its place. You have to be inside of this thing to know how delicious it is to unite with other Cubans who are full of energy, abilities, proposals, curiosity, and genuine desire to do for our country. Today I can only feel pride in what is accomplished if only the individual desires it — all that is obtained when love and dedication are given to something.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison