Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sirley Avila Leon returned home to Cuba today and has not been heard from

A call to action, out of concern for the safety of Cuban human rights defender and machete attack survivor unaccounted for in Cuba.

Today, September 7, 2016 after six months receiving medical care in Miami, Florida machete attack victim and human rights defender Sirley Avila Leon boarded American Airlines flight 1359 to Holguin, Cuba to return home to Las Tunas.

The flight arrived in Frank País Airport in Holguín, Cuba at 4:13pm. She was on the second commercial passenger flight since 1961 by American Airlines to this location.  She is overdue in calling and the likelihood is that she has been retained, or detained by the political police.

Prior to boarding her flight she recorded the above brief message at Miami International Airport where she expressed her concerns about the plight of her son, and what she may encounter on her return home. The video was made in case she was not heard from three hours after the plane had landed.

Five days ago on September 2, 2016 over her twitter account Sirley Avila Leon stated:
"Return to Cuba and want to make clear that for several days I have been unable to communicate with my son. Whatever happens to him I hold the Castros accountable. I know of the Castros capability to lie and fabricate crimes and that is why I hold them responsible for what happens to me and my son."
 In addition to receiving medical care, in order to regain limited mobility, Sirley Avila Leon also spoke out on the human rights situation in Cuba and the circumstances surrounding the machete attack on May 24, 2015 that changed her life forever and how she was denied adequate medical afterwards. The danger to her life necessitated a precautionary measure from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on September 2, 2015. This necessitated her visit to the United States on a medical visa on March 8, 2016.

Dr. Manuel Alzugaray, of the Miami Medical Team
She gave her testimony on many occasions and the most complete accounts can be found in Spanish at Voces de Cuba (Voices of Cuba), and in English at the Huffington World Post, Victims of Communism and finally in her testimony before Congress on July 13, 2016 and afterwards The Daily Signal.The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation produced a short video with English subtitles that provides an overview of what happened to her.

There is reason to fear that due to her outspokenness the Castro regime may want to take reprisals against her and her family, perhaps using criminal third parties to try and finish what they started back on May 24, 2015.

Although it may be jumping the gun (better to be safe than sorry) people of good will should make her plight known and ask Cuban government officials at the embassy in their respective country what has happened to Sirley Avila Leon?

Please help her.

Sirley Avila Leon

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