Monday Feb 27: Latin America stories & the politics of immigration with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz..click to listen… https://t.co/DNr1Hpcarx
— Silvio Canto, Jr. (@SCantojr) February 27, 2017
The ladies in white, or “Las Damas en Blanco”, are women who march every Sunday after mass or other services. They’ve drawn international attention because they are peaceful and simply want freedom in Cuba, or the release of their husbands, sons or brothers from political prisons.
Over the years, they’ve been harassed by communist thugs and pushed around. But they keep on marching every Sunday.
We just got news that some of the ladies have been arrested, according to Capitol Hill Cubans (via Babalu):
“Over 45 Ladies in White were arrested as they tried to meet at their headquarters on Neptuno Street in Havana.
“Dozens of others were intercepted and turned away as they made their way to the meeting.
“The group holds monthly meetings, known as “literary teas,” which are heavily repressed by the Castro regime.”
Frankly, the regime is scared to death of these ladies. It’s hard to blame a bunch of peaceful ladies as CIA agents. The ladies are also seen by tourists who Tweet or send their pictures out of the country.
To my knowledge, no one in the US feminist movement has publicly supported these brave ladies.
We don’t know why feminists don’t support “Las Damas en Blanco”.
We do know that these ladies are one courageous group of women.
Jorge Ponce and I looked back at this big “semana” of Cuba news.
It started with the handshake, talk of Dr Gross, calls for lifting the embargo, to more of Alberto’s posts about human rights violations in the island.
Even Elian made the news this week. Wonder if someone told Elian that his mother died to bring him to the US?
It was quite a week! We spoke with Jorge Ponce about it.
Macha Theatre part of Macha Theatre/Films, presents Cuban Cultural Night, celebrating Cuba’s independence from Spain, with the premier of the documentary “I Am The Other Cuba” (Soy La Otra Cuba) which sheds light on the current state of Cuba, its revolutionary past, and its uncertain path toward an unknown future. Featuring interviews with a variety of Cuban dissidents, Italian filmmaker Pierantonio Maria Miccirelli touches on subjects ranging from the ever-present struggle for freedom, to the “myth of the revolution,” and a visit to the Ladies in White, a group of peaceful opposition women seeking a change to democracy, and a civil society.
After the screening, delicious appetizers from the famous PORTOS Cuban Bakery will be served.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or discounted at: WWW. GOLDSTAR.COM
Special thanks to Gordiano Lupi.
In Spanish below the fold.
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.
Relieved that their oil supply is safe, at least for now, the Castro’s are busy at what they do best: Complaining about the non-existent embargo, promoting failure as accomplishment, and repressing peaceful unarmed women wearing white.
From Capitol Hill Cubans:
AI Concerned For Safety of Ladies in White
Amnesty International Calls on Cuba to Allow “Ladies in White” Activists to Freely Commemorate Anniversary of Leader’s Death
Amnesty International said today it is concerned about the safety of the activist group “Ladies in White” as the one-year anniversary of their leader’s death approaches on Oct. 14, and called on authorities to ensure the women can mark the anniversary without harassment or intimidation.
“Given the Cuban authorities’ shameful record when it comes to the treatment of human rights activists, we are concerned for the safety of the Ladies in White as they commemorate the anniversary of the death of one of their members,” said Javier Zúñiga Mejía Borja, special advisor for regional programs at Amnesty International. “Our request is simple: the Cuban authorities must ensure that the Ladies in White and other activists in the country can express themselves freely.”
The activists will be travelling from across the country to attend mass at the Church of Santa Rita in Havana and carry out a silent march marking the death of Laura Pollán, who died on October 14, 2011 of cardio-respiratory arrest.
The Ladies in White have been subjected to a permanent campaign of intimidation, harassment and short term detentions to stop them from peacefully campaigning for the release of political prisoners and greater civil and political freedoms in Cuba.
On September 20, around 50 members of the group were arrested as they traveled to Havana to participate in activities to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy and in memory of late political activists.
They were held for several days before being released without charge. Various members of the Ladies in White based in the capital also received intimidating notes aimed at discouraging them from taking part in activities.
On March 17, 18 Ladies in White were arrested during a peaceful demonstration on the ninth anniversary of a crackdown on dissidents, which led to the imprisonment of 75 government critics.
All were released except for Niurka Luque Álvarez, who was released on October 5, pending trial on charges of “violence or intimidation” against a state official.
On March 18, Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, and her husband, Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González, were detained at their home in Havana when around 50 police forced their way into the house and fired rubber bullets at them. They remain in prison without charge.
In February this year, authorities in Cuba prevented members of the Ladies in White from reaching the group’s headquarters to attend an event in memory of the second anniversary of the death of activist Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on hunger strike in protest at his unfair incarceration.
The organization Ladies in White was formed by a group of female relatives of the 75 prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned in March 2003 for their peaceful expression of critical opinions of the government.
The group attends mass every Sunday in the capital, Havana, dressed in white, to pray for the release of their relatives. Afterwards they take part in a procession from the church to a nearby park, carrying white flowers. Following the release of all the prisoners of conscience from the March 2003 crackdown, the Ladies in White have been campaigning for the release of other political prisoners and to lift restrictions on fundamental civil and political freedoms in Cuba.