Laura, in her own words on why the Ladies in White are out on the street, “We cannot allow our men, our families to be destroyed. We cannot allow them to die in prison.”
I will always remember Laura Pollan. This inspiring lady, wife, mother, and teacher, never imagined that she would become a political activist. In 2003, her husband, journalist Hector Maseda Gutierrez, along with 74 others were rounded up and arrested in what became known as the Cuban Black Spring, La Primavera Negra. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “counter revolutionary” activities. As she struggled to find information on her husband she met other women relatives of the 74; their meetings were the beginning of the Ladies in White. Their quiet dignity, marching to make sure that their men would not be forgotten, standing up against increasing threats and violent repression, how could you not be inspired by these brave women standing alone against the power of the state armed only with gladiolas?
The murderous Castro regime has many ways to rid themselves of unwanted dissidents, murder by neglect, auto accidents, and perhaps injection. Many unanswered questions remain surrounding the death of Laura Pollan. If there was nothing to hide, why did they arrest Hablamos Press journalist Rios Otero?
The valiant Las Damas de Blanco, Laura Pollan’s brave Ladies in White, led by Berta Solar, continue their mission without her, in spite of increasing violent repression against them. Today, October 14, is the anniversary of Laura’s death, please remember her.