Sirley Avila Leon (1959)

  Sirley Avila Leon (1959)
If God so wanted, I wouldn't have been here anymore

Organizing an opposition movement

"In the end, I was elected chair of the Republican Party in the Las Tunas province. On my own expenses - as always - I began visiting the individual constituencies, both cities and villages, and started organizing an opposition movement. I established several local units, met people and also asked for support of those people who knew me from the town where I previously served as a councillor. I can't say that in every single constituency, there would be someone from the opposition. I simply sought the people's support, even within the system. The support of a collective of locals who knew me and knew how things were. I think this is the best way to claim one's rights - with the support of people who know me and know that I'm telling them the truth."

  • born in 1959 in Las Tunas in the former Cuban province of Oriente
  • her family owned a farm, field, cattle, had a carefree childhood
  • as a 17-year-old went to study in the city of Matanzas, was a member of a youth organisation
  • after her father's death in 1989, the family became poor and she had to take care of her ill mother
  • in 2004 moved to Limones where she ran a farm
  • was struck by the destitution of the village people
  • in 2005 was elected local councillor, tried to improve the conditions of the local people
  • spent several years fighting for the establishment of a local school
  • ever since 2010 targeted by secret police attacks
  • in 2012 started collaborating with dissident groups
  • on 24 May 2015 was attacked by the tenat of her farm armed with a machete, had her left arm cut off and both legs severely injured
  • in 2016 left to receive treatment in the US, witnessed before the US Congress
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