Eliécer Ávila

* 1985

  • “There were basically, if I remember it correctly, five aspects. The first: why the Cubans couldn’t freely travel out and back in to the country? Because at the time, a special permit was required which they called the White Letter [Carta Blanca], which was necessary for the Cubans to go on a trip to another country. Second, why did not the country allow to connect people, families, to the internet, while only a privileged few could access? Third, why were the ministers, the representatives of the country and the government didn’t fulfill with their duties? I mean, they always did what they wanted, but they never asked people what they actually wanted. Another thing: why the Cubans could not have a cell phone registered on their name, while this was a privilege only for the foreign residents in Cuba. And so on, there were four or five very specific demands, which, after this intervention, became viral as a video. Not on the internet, but from hand to hand. The people passed it on CDs, or in USBs, and it came to the whole country. This provoked a kind of general expectation of debate, as in many contexts of the intervention, the people agreed with these approaches."

  • “I opened my eyes and realized that the parades, the banners, the slogans…, that all this was just an optical illusion, which obviously charmed young hearts and people with energy, but it actually never really converted in Cuba in a concrete, economic, moral state of well-being for the people."

  • “I had a relationship with a very intelligent girl who worked at a radio station. And there, I also discovered, how the Communist party manipulated and dictated the editorial policy of all the Cuban media. And with this person and all the conversations we had, I realized that all those people who work there, had to spend all the day reading false news and transmitting encouragement, while deep down in their hearts, they knew that many of this news are false, and that they didn’t agree with that. I believe that there were several things of this nature, which in a certain way guided me towards the path and the mission that I believe to be having at this moment."

  • "There were two clearly defined positions: my classmates, students and all the general people who could see the video, who expressed me their solidarity, with hugs, congratulations, and shows of affection. And on the other hand, there were the leaders: the directors of the University, the rector, the dean, the [Communist] Party secretary, several officials of the Central Committee of the government party in Cuba. They had several conversations with me in a tone which sometimes tried to convince me that I was wrong, and sometimes, when I was insisting in my ideas, they tried to intimidate me: 'you are going to have many problems, you don’t know what we are able to do with the counterrevolutionaries... '. That's how the things went. Until that blockade towards me took place inside the Cuban territory, when I was not allowed to live, study or work in Havana, I had to be almost obligatorily in the countryside."

  • "I believe that Cuba is at a historical juncture. I have the impression that this is the last year that we are going to see the country exactly the way it has been during the last half century. I think that almost obligatorily, at the end of this year or at the beginning of the other, we will see deeper changes. Because it has already become not only necessary, but also unsustainable, even for the Communists themselves in the country. I think the time for ideas has passed. Today, we are in a moment of survival on the part of the people, and on the part of the government in an instinct of preservation of the privileges that they had reached during all that time. And this struggle is reflected in the growing public debate that is taking place in Cuba. More and more people say what they think, more and more people participate in what is happening.”

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    Miami, 18.05.2017

    duration: 44:45
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My grandpa told me: There are three things which you cannot become ever - a fag, a thief, and a counterrevolutionary.’ With the last one, I betrayed him

Eliécer Ávila was born in 1985 in eastern Cuba in extremely humble conditions. Despite his background in a family that fully sympathized with the Cuban Revolution, during his adolescence, Eliécer began to question himself the disadvantages of the Communist regime. Since 2000, he studied at the University of Information Sciences and participated in FEU (Federation of University Students). Finally, in 2007 he expressed his doubts about the Cuban system during an assembly of the FEU, and since then he has been persecuted, threatened and oppressed by the regime. After graduating, he was expelled from the city of Havana and had to look for different jobs in the countryside. Nowadays, he can reside in the capital again, where he works as an independent computer teacher. He is one of the founders of the Somos+ (We’re+) political movement. Ávila is often referred as “one of the most dynamic figures of the new dissident generation”.