This past Sunday in Cuba was the traditional day to venerate the Virgin Mary, the island’s patron saint, La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity). Pro-democracy activists in Cuba planned a peaceful march to celebrate the holy day and protest the brutal repression of the Castro dictatorship. Naturally, the Castro regime would have none of that.
On Sunday morning, the socialist Cuban dictatorship dispatched its political police and State Security agents to quash the protest, violently arresting more than 100 peaceful dissidents.
Cuba Arrests over 100 Dissidents Attempting to Venerate Virgin Mary
Police arrested over 100 pro-democracy dissidents, dozens of which remain missing at press time, in Cuba on Sunday both in anticipation of and to shut down a protest event underway to observe the feast day of the patron saint of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre).
The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the Cuba Decide election movement organized a march on Sunday to venerate the Virgin Mary and demand that the communist Castro regime respect the basic human rights of its people. March organizers said the event would especially express solidarity with the Ladies in White, a dissident organization whose sole act of protest is to attend Catholic Mass on Sundays with the images of political prisoners so that they are not forgotten.
Some began referring to the event as the “Sunflower March” in honor of the flower traditionally offered to Our Lady of Charity on her feast day. Activists on the island reported that Cuban communist police began banning the sale of sunflowers over the weekend in response to the growing use of the flower as a symbol of freedom. Sunflowers are also used to venerate Ochun, the Yoruba god to which Our Lady of Charity is syncretized in Cuba’s santería religion, as yellow is the goddess’s signature color.
The Castro regime regularly employs its police, undercover officers, and makeshift mobs to arrest, beat, intimidate, and otherwise abuse the Ladies in White.
Dissidents accused police forces of raiding their homes and looting them of items that have nothing to do with their protests, including hard-to-find basics on the island such as milk and cooking oil. Some who escaped prosecution suffered heavy fines for arbitrary crimes such as “harm to the environment,” or simply supporting an unlawful protest.
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