Cuba’s Women of Courage
The list of women in Cuba who display inspiring and incredible courage in confronting the brutal Castro dictatorship are not limited to the ones the international media chooses to cover. In actuality, there are hundreds of women who endure harassment, beatings, violations, and imprisonment in the name of liberty and respect for human rights.
It is important the world knows this because the persecution endured and the sacrifice of these unnamed women tells a much larger story of the struggle for freedom in Cuba. A struggle that is partly led by Cuban women who have not achieved worldly fame or recognition. Women like Sonia Garro, Martha Beatriz Roque, Sara Martha Fonseca, Berta Soler, and dozens of others like them whose names are not repeated in the world's intellectual circles and who do not have camera teams from Reuters or the AP following them around and recording their every word. Nameless and faceless women - as far as the international press is concerned - like Rosario Morales la Rosa.
This is not meant to diminish or understate the courage of Cuban women struggling for freedom who are fortunate enough to receive international acclaim, but a long overdue recognition that there is something incredibly special about these Cuban women of courage who no one hears about. They are the women Davids who knowing their acts of resistance will receive scant if any coverage in the media, still get up every morning and valiantly take on the Castro Goliath.
“Two women cause commotion in Havana”: Charito speaks after protest and arrest
Arrested for pots and pan protest in Havana’s Central Park, beaten, and confined in a dungeon for 3 days. She was fined for more than one thousand pesos and has a trial pending, which means she could soon go to prison for saying, out loud, what so many Cubans think.Rosario Morales la Rosa. “Charito”. Lady in White.
After the pots and pans protest in Havana this past 14th of February which went around the world (see the video here),the Ladies in White Rosario Morales la Rosa- Charito- and Melkis Faure Echeverria were arrested by the political police, forcefully shoved into cop cars and taken to the Dragones Police Unit. But not before the everyday people defended them, affirmed Morales.
Charito, as she is best known amongst her friends and fellow dissidents, said she decided to carry out the protest (a kind of demonstration she is no stranger to) after having been detained three times in the same week. The arrests occurred on Wednesday when she was trying to visit the headquarters of the Ladies in White on Neptune Street, in Havana, to participate in the activities honoring the fallen leader of the group, Laura Pollan, on her birthday. Each time Charito would try to make it to the event she was arrested and abandoned in a desolate and distant location known as Campo Florido, as occurred with many other women that day.
It was precisely during one of these detentions that a police agent, which Charito could not identify by name but instead by badge number- 01448- pointed a pistol at her head and threatened her with death. Before cracking at such a serious threat, the Cuban mother decided to publicly protest against the totalitarian system in Havana’s Central Park on the following day.
“The pots and pans protest started to awaken people’s consciousness, both Cubans and tourists. First, they gathered around, staring, but then the police agents arrived“, recounts Charito, who was shouting social slogans alongside Melkis like ‘fair pay’ and ‘return economic assistance to the elderly’, “The police shut down traffic, they called for more police vehicles, and began to carry out arrests. But the people started making signs of solidarity to us; they were applauding us and repeated our messages“.
The dissident says that the police started to push all the people standing around, especially those who were filming with their cell phones and cameras. “Then they came up the steps and brutally arrested Mekis and I…many people followed us and were shouting ‘let them go, they are speaking the truth’“.
Charito was shoved into a police car, hurting her arm and foot during the process. One officer even “pulled me by my hair“, she said.
But amid the police aggressions, Charito explains that what she focused on was the fact that there was “human solidarity” on behalf of everyday Cubans and foreigners congregated around the vehicle where she was being held.
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