Arrests This Sunday Of More Than A Hundred Activists Across The Island / 14ymedio

Activists supporting the Ladies in White on Sunday June 21 on 5th Avenue. (14ymedio)

Activists supporting the Ladies in White on Sunday June 21 on 5th Avenue. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 June 2015 — Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), reported early Sunday the arrest of 48 members of that opposition organization to prevent them from reaching the Sanctuary of Cobre in the east of the country. In Havana, fifty Ladies in White were also arrested at the end of their pilgrimage near the Church of Santa Rita, with over a hundred arrested across the country.

The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, Angel Moya, were intercepted leaving the headquarters of the movement in the Lawton neighborhood and prevented from going to Mass, according to the dissident Martha Beatriz Roque. Both were taken to a detention site located in Tarará, east of the capital, where presumably they found the other detained Ladies in White.

The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, Angel Moya, were taken to a detention site located in Tarará

Other activists reported that their homes were surrounded, as was the case with the independent reporter Agustín López Canino. The home of this activist, in the village of El Globo on the outskirts of Havan, was surrounded by a wide operation that he managed to evade, although later the police intercepted him in the vicinity of 5th Avenue in Playa municipality.

So far, the complete list of those arrested is unknown. It was planned that around five in the afternoon, the Ladies in White of Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos would try to attend Mass at the Jesus of Nazareth Catholic Church, where they were prevented from attending on 21 June by the church’s priest, Padre Tarciso.

Two activists from the United Anti-totalitarian Front (FANTU) are still on a hunger strike to demand that the priest reverse his decision and allow the women to enter the temple.

Cuban Police Arrest More Than 220 Dissidents, According To Activists / Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra

The most arrests took place on Sunday in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba

The most arrests took place on Sunday in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba

Hablemos Press, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Peréz, Havana, 29 June 2015 — Offices of the National Police, the Department of State Security, and other members of the Interior Ministry arrested at least 226 Cuban activists and dissidents this past Sunday, 28 June, 2015.

Police operations were carried out in various provinces of the country to keep activists and opposition members from attending Mass.

Among those arrested in Havana were Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White Movement, Antonio G. Rodiles, director of Estado de SATS; José Díaz, of Opponents for a New Republic Movement; photographer Claudio Fuentes; and several of the former political prisoners who were released in January 2015. Continue reading

March Of The Ladies In White Concludes Without Arrests This Sunday / 14ymedio

Activists supporting the Ladies in White Sunday on 5th Avenue. (Luz Escobar / 14ymedio)

Activists supporting the Ladies in White Sunday on 5th Avenue. (Luz Escobar / 14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 June 2015 – During the day, this Sunday, the Ladies and White held their traditional peregrination along Fifth Avenue in the vicinity of Santa Rita Church. Unlike the previous ten occasions, today no arrests were reported after the march, although at least 5 women belonging to the movement and 7 activists were detained to keep them from getting to the site.

In total, some 50 Ladies in White managed to get to the church and were accompanied on this occasion by 27 activists and independent journalists. Berta Soler confirmed to this newspaper that “there were no arrests after the Mass,” and that this Sunday they only “marched down Fifth Avenue, with the gladioli and the photos of the faces of the political prisoners,” but “out of respect for Father’s Day, after we finished each of us went to our own homes.”

Independent journalist Yuri Lazaro Valle Roca also reported to 14ymedio that there were no acts of repudiation nor the violent arrests that had characterized the previous Sundays.

Although there was a visible police operation in the area, the repressive forces did not proceed to arrest those who made it there.

Cuba’s Ladies in White Repressed on Their Sunday March Today / 14ymedio

Ladies in White walking down 5th Avenue in Miramar. (14ymedio)

Ladies in White walking down 5th Avenue in Miramar. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 14 June 2015 — Security forces have lashed out against the Ladies in White this Sunday, as they have on the previous ten Sundays. This time they carried out several preventive arrests among the activists who often accompany the Ladies in White in their march on 5th Avenue, at the end of the Mass at Santa Rita Church in Miramar.

According to information provided by a 14ymedio reporter present at the site, 61 Ladies in White and 18 men, among them activists and independent journalists, attended the Mass.

Arrested before arriving were photographer Claudio Fuentes, independent journalist Juan González Febles and activists Agustín López Canino and Hugo Damian. Also reported, at 11:30 am, were the arrest of four Ladies in White and 8 men to prevent them from arriving at the church. Continue reading

53 Ladies in White Arrested in Havana /14ymedio

Ladies in White in front of Santa Rita church in Havana. (File Photo / Agustin Lopez Canino)

Ladies in White in front of Santa Rita church in Havana. (File Photo / Agustin Lopez Canino)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 31 May 2015 – This Sunday the Ladies in White Movement experienced its eighth consecutive Sunday of repression in Havana, resulting in the rest of 53 of them. Some of the 25 activists who participated with the women in their traditional Sunday pilgrimage were arrested near the Church of Santa Rita in the capital municipality of Playa.

According to several witnesses, 53 Ladies in White and 25 activists were arrested at the exit of the parish and taken to a destination still unknown. At least seven women had been prevented from arriving to the place and several dissidents reported threats by State Security since Saturday, warning them not to attend the pilgrimage.

Among the activists arrested was Juan Angel Moya, a former prisoner of the Black Spring of 2003, and Antonio Gonzalez Rodiles, leader of the opposition group Estado de Sats.

Iriades Hernández Aguilera of the Patriotic Union of Cuba informed 14ymedio that no arrests of activists of the organization were reported in the province of Santiago de Cuba, although a heavy guard was seen around the headquarters of the organization. Our correspondent in Pinar del Río, Juan Carlos Fernandez, reported that three Ladies in White were able to attend Sunday mass.

In the province of Matanzas, the activist Sayli Navarro confirmed that at least 38 Ladies in White across the province made it to their respective parishes without difficulties.

The Harvest of the Sowing of Violence / Cubanet, Rafael Alcides

Repression Against the Ladies in White (Internet photo)

Repression Against the Ladies in White (Internet photo)

cubanet square logoCubanet, Rafael Alcides, Havana, 13 May 2015 – Extremely worried, doctoral candidate in physics Antonio Rodiles and his wife the actress and political activist Ailer Gonzalez, in their home, related to me two events that I have prayed over, that those events that started with the blood of Moncada wouldn’t end up being a circular story. Ailer and Antonio spoke of the increased police repression after December 17, most particularly of the brutality with which the oppressors are being dispatched.

On Sunday the 26th of last month, with their trucks crammed with martial arts experts at the end of the usual parade of the Ladies in White, Carlitos, the son of Jesus Menendez, an elderly diabetic with heart problems, was grabbed, dragged and thrown in the back of the truck like a sack of potatoes. Yury, Blas Roca’s grandson, was put in plastic handcuffs so tightly that his hands turned black and they didn’t cut them off. Up Calabazar, the truck with the prisoners inside was left in the sun to bake them a little. They grabbed Antonio among the many present and pushed him with blows to the back before throwing him headfirst into the truck. An endless number of books could be written about the mistreatment and repression of the Ladies in White, apparently excluded from government’s media campaign to end violence against women. Continue reading

Estado de Sats… for our Spanish-speaking viewers

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to translate and subtitle all the wonderful videos coming out of Estado de Sats and the Forum for Rights and Freedom, but for our many readers who do understand spoken Spanish, we just wanted to remind you they are there.

This particular video is a discussion of the Americas Summit in Panama.

The Estado de Sats YouTube channel is here.

29 April 2015

Berta Soler believes that conflicts in the group are due to ‘infiltrators’

Berta Soler in a file photo

Berta Soler in a file photo

(EFE) 21 March 2015 — The leader of the Cuban dissident movement Ladies in White,BertaSoler, is “convinced” that“Cuban State Security is hiding” behind the conflicts within the group and which led to the separation of some of its members.

Soler pointed to a History student, Alejandro Yañez, as the person who leaked a video that shows an angry internal conflict and stated that the one responsible for the leak is “someone sent by [Cuban] State Security” since 2007, to gather information and “promote misunderstandings in the group,” as affirmed by the newspaper El Nuevo Herald.

The incident earned the dissident criticisms, especially within the Cuban exile community in the United States, after which Soler decided to submit her leadership to a referendum held this month in Havana in which she was ratified as the movement’s leader.

“I think it doesn’t end because the Government has stuck its hands and body into this,” said Soler, who nevertheless affirmed that the experience taught her to rectify.

In the video in question, several members of the group, Soler among them, demonstrate with shouts against Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva, an activist who was “suspended” and who appeared at the group’s site as a “provocation.”

The leader of the movement also said that on her return to Havana she would personally deliver the keys to the group’s site to Laura María Labrada Pollán, daughter of Ladies in White founder, the deceased Laura Pollán, whose home has been the movement’s headquarters since its founding.

Last Thursday, Laura Labrada announced in Havana that she would create a foundation in honor of her mother and would not authorize Soler to use the name Laura Pollán, after criticizing the “unfortunate events that have raised questions” about the prestige of the organization.

Soler said she “respects” Labrada’s decision, and although the movement could continue to use its current name, Laura Pollán Ladies in White Movement, she would not “get into this family problem.”

Soler said that “respect” the decision of Labrada, and although the movement could continue using its current name, Laura Pollán Ladies in White Laura Movement, she will not “get involved in this family problem.”

“We are against the Cuban government, not against anyone of the people. Laura will always be present in us,” said Soler.

In the interview, the dissident preferred not to give details about the use of the 50,000 euros that the movement received from the European Parliament when, in 2013, it received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, among other reasons because she doesn’t want to “reveal information to the Cuban government nor to State Security.”

The people who have placed their trust and monetary incentives in the movement, “know how the money is used,” she added.

The “Ladies in White” movement was created by women members of the families of the 75 dissidents condemned to prison during the “Black Spring” of 2003 (now released), among whom are Angel Moya, Soler’s husband, and Hector Maseda, Pollán’s widower.

The Ladies in White Should Change Their Political Profile / Ivan Garcia

damas-de-blanco-por-la-quinta-avenida-_mn-620x330Ivan Garcia, 11 March 2015 — During the hot summer of 2013 I remember Blanca Reyes, wife of the poet and journalist Raul Rivero, writing letters to the pope in the Vatican, to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and to Nelson Mandela in South Africa, reminding them that Fidel Castro had sentenced Rivero to twenty years behind bars for writing without approval.

Reyes was speaking on behalf her husband and seventy-four other prisoners of conscience detained in March 2003. I saw up close the suffering of these women. At mid-morning, armed with baskets of food and toiletries, they traveled hundreds of kilometers to visit their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers in jail.

They were also prisoners of the system. Later they decided to organize. They were like a clan. Laura Pollán was a natural leader who began acting Continue reading

Laura Labrada and a Hundred Ladies in White Distance Themselves From Berta Soler / 14ymedio

Laura Labrada during the press conference at the headquarters of the Ladies in White (14ymedio)

Laura Labrada during the press conference at the headquarters of the Ladies in White (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 March 2015 — In a press conference Thursday in Havana, the Lady in White Laura Labrada, daughter of the late Laura Pollán, announced the creation of a foundation with the name of her mother said she wouldn’t allow “Berta Soler to use the name of [her] mother in her movement.”

In a long document, read in front of independent journalists and foreign correspondents, Labrada accused Soler of poor leadership of the movement and “adopting irreverent conduct.” She added, “I respect from a distance what [Soler] does and her effort, for this she should use her own name, which history will view with mistrust.”

The foundation, which will be created shortly, will have as its objective support for the most disadvantaged people, according to Labrada, especially children and the elderly. During the round of questions, the Lady in White said that in making these decisions she counted on the support of “more than a hundred women,” belonging Continue reading

Berta Soler Confirmed as Leader of Ladies in White / 14ymedio

Ladies in White showing empty ballot box before voting. (14ymedio)

Ladies in White showing empty ballot box before voting. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Havana, 11 March 2015 – On Wednesday the Ladies in White confirmed the continuity of their current leader, Berta Soler, at the front of their movement with an overwhelming majority of 180 votes in favor with a total of 201 participants in the recall referendum. A total of 16 members of the group opted for change in leadership and three ballots were annulled while three were left blank; 32 members with the right to vote preferred not to do so.

On learning the outcome, the Ladies cheered Soler. The Matanzas delection, present at the site, read a statement in which they said they turned out in force for the consultation. The re-elected leader congratulated the entire organization for the referendum, those who said yes, who said no, and who annulled their ballots. The shock troops of the acts of repudiation did not appear. Continue reading