New Proposal from Cuban Exile Community to Mitigate Coronavirus

By Vicente Morin Aguado

Eliecer Avila. Photo: screenshot FB

HAVANA TIMES – Last night, the young leader from the Cuban political movement Somos Mas, Eliecer Avila, shook up social media with his last “live” session:

“I am addressing this proposal directly to Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and Raul Castro Ruz. Cubans are opening up their hearts to our family, lift the blockade imposed on Cubans helping Cubans, don’t blockade us any more, the only thing we want to do is help Cuba to prosper and move forward because it is our right. However, this is impossible with the restrictions imposed and we have no way of helping our families and our island make progress.”

Somos Mas proposes to create a contingent of fellow countrymen, with thousands of doctors from the exile community, in the center, to support the much-needed reconstruction of the country after the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is already beginning to have an impact on Cuba.

Tens of thousands of independent artists, intellectuals, businesspeople, selfless workers would also join this effort, from the two million Cubans living in exile in the US, as well as in some 70 countries, most of which are developed, says Eliecer Avila.

The tentative date has been set for the second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day, explains Avila, now based in Miami:

“It would be an Operation Return, coming back loaded with economic aid, food products, medicine, direct financial aid for every family, friend, from Cuban to Cuban, completely unlimited, joining our energy and experiences to the reconstruction of a nation which will surely be a lot poorer than it already is today.”

“Why can’t this proposal become reality today?” Eliecer asks: “The dictatorship needs to lift the blockade imposed against all of us. It needs to allow us to return to our country with absolute freedom. No more Cubans banned, no more ‘regulated’ Cubans here and there. Release the 137 political prisoners. Don’t use resources, energy, to keep Cubans under surveillance.”

An interesting debate followed the “live” stream from the leader of this movement which is not only gaining ground in south Florida, but also has hubs of supporters in other US states, as well as followers in Europe and other countries with Cuban communities. On Sunday night, YouTube showed that it had 7,240 visits before 9 PM, which isn’t bad at all for a live stream from a Cuban influencer.

It’s worth highlighting the following from the comments section:

Fania Brito, Canada:  Let’s put the dictatorship in checkmate, they are going to show us whether they really are selfish and overwhelmed by power, not caring at all for the Cuban people’s wellbeing.

Riquet Cabellero: Excellent proposal, the Atlanta team is ready to launch this internal collaborative platform of Somos Mas, there will be lots of us who will help contribute towards this proposal.

Marlon Silva (without identifying a place of residence) asked for no more media campaigns against Cuba, much less now with this brutal pandemic.

Silva’s comment represents a trend on social media when it comes to commenting on the distressing situation on the Island, which motivated the following response from Eliecer: “We agree, it’s a campaign in favor of Cuba, a campaign of love, of freedom, a campaign for reconstruction, of unity of the Cuban family.”

The young I.T. student who publicly put Ricardo Alarcon, a high-ranking leader in the Cuban government, on the spot one day during a debate at his school in 2008, denounced the government’s (which he wasn’t afraid to repeatedly call a dictatorship) manipulation in yesterday’s public speech.

The suspicious deaths of two elderly people in Havana a couple of days ago stood out, both of whom were displaying clear symptoms of Coronavirus, however, common pneumonia was recorded on the death certificates as the cause of death. One of the cases, recorded live from the hospital, has been going viral on social media; the other one was an 87-year-old woman called Benita Gonzalez Almaguer, who was living at 11 San Isidro Street, Old Havana.

Now, neighbors of the unfortunate old woman are in quarantine are they are potentially infected with COVID-19. Up until today, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health has only recognized the death of one person due to Coronavirus: an Italian tourist.

Many testimonies, factual evidence and posts, prove the systemic non-disclosure of data by the Communist dictatorship when it comes to sensitive issues that could hurt its political image.

Taking part in last night’s debate was Jorge, a Cuban doctor living in the Florida city of Hialeah, who remembered that “when I was working in Cuba, I experienced this manipulation of data and information firsthand, and it was at every level. For example, reporting a malnourished child, a pregnant woman at risk, which is supposedly common, was censored. Everything had to be checked, everything was politicized.”

Last year, it was proven that Cuba had hidden, reduced and delayed the publication of figures relating to deaths caused by Dengue fever, which had devastated in the Americas. The same thing had happened previously with Zika.

Eliecer Avila’s warning was well-grounded: “Let’s not leave the health of our elderly, our parents, our children, in the hands of those who have never spoken the truth.”

From Spain, Julio Suarez commented: “we are strong, but we aren’t united, they depend on us, on our remittances, on everything we give them.

Some people leaving comments remembered unsuccessful actions from the exile community, which is scattered and not united, in the face of an uncompromising power such as the Castro brothers, and believe that it is very unlikely that this proposal will ever come to life. Alain Tier tells the influencer: “I don’t think your proposal will be successful because of a lack of political willingness that the regime has shown. They don’t want the Cuban people’s wellbeing.”

The bridge of love that is being extended from the exile community shows what the majority of new generations of Cubans want. They may be distanced from the political conflict that divided the country 60 years ago, but are the heirs of this division:

“We will not give up our right to be Cuban, we will not give up on our grandparents, our parents, we will not give up on the never-ending dream of freedom and progress, we will not abandon it,” says Avila.

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