14ymedio, Havana, 9 January 2016 — The independent movement Somos+ (We Are More) is experiencing intense days as its annual convention approaches, due to a strong police operation against its members. The arrest of activist Joanna Columbie last Thursday in Santiago de Cuba, raised the tension around the event scheduled for 14 January several degrees.
Police pressure has included threats to the majority of Somos+’s members living in Cuba, and police warnings that the meeting would not be permitted. The national coordinator of the group, Manuel Diaz Mons, was also arrested and later released, after an exaggerate options in which several vinyl posters with the Somos+ logo were confiscated.
There whereabouts of Joanne Columbie remain unknown. If is the second occasion in less than six months in which the former municipal education methodologist has been jailed to prevent her traveling to Havana for a Somos+ meeting. Last September she was taken to the police station in the city of Cespedes in Camaguey, where she lives.
Members of the group strongly denounced the police operation that tool place “in several provinces against people with responsibilities for preparing for the annual convention.” The activists also reported that several members of the organization had their email service cut off by the State entity Nauta.
In a document released Friday, the leader of the organization, Eliecer Avila, condemned “energetically these actions against a peaceful convention,” and warned that they would go ahead with plans to hold the meeting.
Somos+ is a movement created in March of 2013 by Avila, who defined it from its beginning as a group “concerned with opinions and with ideas for future, that many of us share.”