News and Facts about Cuba

A Year That Counts in Our Favor

A Year That Counts in Our Favor / Somos+, Eliecer Avila
Posted on January 7, 2016

Eliecer Avila, 31 December 2015 — To offer a comprehensive summary of
the work realized by the Somos+ movement in 2015, we would need the
pages of a book. Thus, I will only try, in a strong exercise of memory,
to highlight some details and successes of our recent history that
characterize the performance and demonstrate the character of our
members and leaders at this stage.

Earlier this year, we agreed that for us this would be “the founding
year.” Then we adjusted our objectives to consolidate a small effective
team of competent and committed people to work in a disinterested way to
promote the ideas that gave birth to our organization.

To achieve this, we knew it was necessary to count on information media
that was read and respected by a great number of Cubans within and
outside Cuba, so that they themselves would become the bearers and
diffusers of our message. Only then could we make ourselves known and
reach all corners of the country and the world.

It was extremely difficult to find the human capital to form teams of
editors, writers, filmmakers, translators, in short, people with the
knowledge and will to work for Cuba, for many hours, including nights
and Sundays. Unlike so many efforts with economic compensation, it was
compensated only with the immense and difficult-to-explain pleasure that
one experiences when one does well with their own hands.

If there is something that we are proud of today, it is having found
these exceptional people that we seek. Men and women for whom there are
sacred, pure and honorable things, that cannot be paid for with any
money: the friendship that unites us, the love that we feel for Cuba and
its people, the immense commitment we have to the construction of its
future. This special mix of empathy, boundless dedication and respect
spontaneously provokes a state of well-being within a work environment
that relieves the tensions of the most stressful moments that we have
had to go through.

On the other hand, our team won the sympathy of hundreds of people who,
although they are not members of the movement, offered us their
collaboration and affections, for which we are infinitely grateful.
Without such deep and sincere cohesion among key people, or what I
internally call “team zero,” it would have been difficult to achieve
what has been achieved and to survive and exist today.

So I want to thank, without mentioning names, inside and outside Cuba,
our essential supporters, those who always, against all odds, never fail
us, not for a second, upholding the flag of the movement, a force of
willpower, confidence and loyalty to us.

Today our website is a reality, stable and constantly improving, a space
for our members and collaborators to share ideas, express themselves and
learn. The 210 posts published during the year have been read in 161
countries, and shared on social networks thousands of times.

The Sunday talks were also very interesting, where several specialists
and people with interesting projects and ideas presented them in frank
and free debate with everyone who wanted to participate.

Debate also characterized the meetings of the membership with the
leadership of the movement, where we periodically collected opinions,
doubts and concerns that greatly helped to improve our internal
procedures and to sharpen our positions on various issues.

The use of advance technological tools was a constant, as an alternative
to overcome distances, time schedules and other obstacles that make
communication difficult. The advance of the clubs was also notable, with
Florida and Ecuador as the most active sites.

The campaigns in support of the several activists unjustly imprisoned in
Cuba, the coverage of the visits by the Pope and John Kerry, and other
important moments, demanded a lot from us and also provided us with
valuable experiences. The videos were undoubtedly the strongest and most
effective communication methods, and a lot of them involved a good
number of people; within the island the DVD option remains the best
source of information for families.

With respect purely to the interior of the country, we held three
National Councils and about 20 meetings of different types and purposes,
with the participation of representatives from several provinces. We
have put into practice our own style of meetings, where we combine
political programs with cultural or sporting activities according to our
modest abilities.

Mid-year we inaugurated a Civic Club we call Channel-Cafe, where various
speakers present extending alliances with other organizations,
particularly the Independent Law Association whose and
founder, attorney Wilfredo Vallin, we thank for his masterful teachings.

Within the provinces, the work especially in Matanzas and Las Tunas
stands out, where we have also consolidated good teams.

To the growing interest among many professionals and people trained to
know and be part of the movement, the repressive arm of the government
reacted this year with the violation of our right to mobility within the
country, impeding, on three occasions, our ability to hold meetings in
different provinces.

We also suffered temporary detentions, forced relocations, threats and
intimidation to many of our members and their families. This caused us
to lose some members who could not resist with State Security around
their necks, but it consolidated the position and commitment of the

The same effect was caused, especially outside Cuba, by the malicious
actions of two or three “infiltrated members,” that is people who are
planted in the movement for the sole purpose of causing problems,
conflicts and confusion among key members, when more unity and strength
is needed. These people tried to exercise a subtle and poisonous
influence on others healthily unprepared, or demonstrated their manifest
inability to engage with the team with respect and tolerance for others.

Neither strategy, within Cuba or outside, worked. On the contrary, every
tear of pain caused by disappointment in someone made us stronger,
prepared us to confront in the future the large scale vileness we know
is not going to end until the system of dark powers we are fighting

Materially and financially we were stable in 2015, but we are still far
from achieving the resources we need to deploy major important
initiatives that require greater financial support to come to fruition.

We significantly improved our meeting place, acquiring 20 chairs and a
large table. We recharged the two main cellphones in five deals from
and got some 160 hours of access. All this with our own
funds, coming from the monthly support of our membership.

We were also able to demonstrate that with our own talent the movement
can collect additional funds. The International Convention was an
experimental success in this regard. The event not only demonstrated
that we can gain the conscious support of many Cuban notables and
workers, but also contributed to strengthening our alliance with
artists, intellectuals and leaders of other organizations, etc.

Experience acquired in the preparations for large events was also very
valuable and will help us greatly in the future. Especially in the next
National Convention.

For 2016 we intend to meet even greater challenges. This coming year for
Somos+ we are calling “the year of consolidation.” We are applying the
knowledge gained in the founding stage to exercise stronger and more
influential political actions, elevating the competitiveness of our
members and leaders, as well as our visibility and national and
international standing.

This strategic objective will experience a big boost with the founding
of our Academy for the study of Political Science. With this approach,
we are confident this coming year of having the most competent and
strong team (both in ideas and the skills to defend them) within the
Cuban political opposition that aspires to compete for the leadership of
our society.

Now we have to continue, with much more consistency and professionalism,
conquering step by step what we think is the most valuable treasure: the
trust and respect of our people. People of whom we are part and for whom
we will never stop fighting.

Happy 2015 muchachos.

My best hug to everyone.

Eliecer Avila, engineer and president of the Somos+ Movement

Source: A Year That Counts in Our Favor / Somos+, Eliecer Avila |
Translating Cuba –

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