Reports from Cuba: A second day of police harassment for Somos+ Academy

By Eliecer Avila in Translating Cuba:

A Second Day Of Police Harassment For Somos+ Academy

Participants in the courses of Somos+’s Academy 1010.
Participants in the courses of Somos+’s Academy 1010.

Academy 1010, an initiative of the Somos+ (We Are More) Movement, experienced a second day of police harassment with a strong Sttae Security operation around the homes of several activists, including arrests and deportations to home provinces. Today, no participants were able to reach the Havana site where courses on civil society, technology and human rights were to be held, according to information from the president of this opposition organization, Eliecer Avila, speaking to 14ymedio.

Joanna Columbié, director of the Academy initiative, said that since Monday “a cordon of patrol cars” has surrounded Avila’s home, the intended site of the conferences and classes.

“I am surprised and indignant because we never imagined that an eminently academic activity would bring a wave of arrests and arbitrary acts as if we were doing something terrible, against the law,” said Avila.

During the first day of activities, five students who managed to get close to the site were arrested, while others have been unable to leave their home provinces, said Columbié. On the opening day only “seven students were able to come” and “they received their classes normally,” she added.

Those arrested so far are Yoan Valdivieso, Pedro Acosta, Georlis Olazabal, Norberto Leyva and Alexei Gamez. From the latter the police confiscated the laptop he travels with, and threatened to prosecute him under the crime of “receiving stolen goods.”

From their home provinces, the political police will not allow Agny Almanza, Javier Rojas and Pedro Escalona to travel to the capital. Georlis Olazabal is being deported right now to the province of Camagüey.

Starting Sunday, Columbié and Avila were warned by State Security agents that they would prevent participants from getting to the conference and accused them of trying to “subvert the political order of the country.”

Through Academy 1010, Somos+ is proposing to provide “the necessary knowledge to empower hundreds of young Cubans to serve as political candidates.”