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.

“I had had this idea for years and in January I wanted to do it but I didn’t have time,” explained Hernandez. The activist left Cuba on 13 August 1996, after several attempts to leave the island.

Current immigration legislation states that, after 24 months of an uninterrupted stay abroad, an emigration cannot return to live permanently in the country, nor own property here.

For the repatriation to become effective, the applicant must “have housing in Cuba or be sheltered in the home of a family member.” In addition, they must demonstrate with documentary proof that they have existing financial and housing resources in order to receive, shelter and support the returnee until they get housing and income of their own.

“Now I came for this purpose and I’m not leaving until I get my identity card,” she says. The activist works “online,” and believes she can continue to do so from the island despite difficulties in accessing the web. “They can’t threaten to deport me,” reflects Hernandez, who has served as a financial coordinator for Somos+ (We Are More) as well as being one of its founders.

The activist has visited a notary and presented the necessary documentation to begin the process of repatriation.

“One can not regret the decisions you make in life,” reflects Hernandez, but she says she has “thought this through very well.” The dissident affirms that she has wanted to return to the Island since the creation of the Somos+ movement. “We had a well-organized team on the outside, but now is the time,” she declared.

The Somos+ movement was created in March 2013 by Eliecer Avila, a computer engineer trained at the University of Information Sciences (UCI), and from its origins has been defined as a group focused on developing opinions and ideas with a vision of the future.

Iliana Hernandez was born in Guantanamo and has always been linked to the sports world. Last year the activist participated in the Marathon des Sables, a 144 mile race across the Sahara desert over seven days.