Cuba’s Ladies In White Report 50 Arrests This Sunday / 14ymedio

A member of the opposition group Ladies in White is arrested on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, during a street demonstration in Havana. (EFE / Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 February 2017 — Some fifty Ladies in White were detained this Sunday on the Island, according to members of that dissident organization.

Former political prisoner and regime opponent Angel Moya told 14ymedio by phone that Berta Soler had been arrested by members of a State Security operation and the police surrounding her Lawton house. The incident happened shortly after three in the afternoon on Sunday, when Soler left the movement’s site in the company of the Lady in White Danaysi Munoz.

Moya added that in Havana the Ladies in White Yordanka Santana and Norma Cruz were “abandoned to their fate*” on the ExpoCuba and Cotorro highways respectively, after being released. According to the same source, as of 6:00 in the evening 23 Ladies in White had been arrested in the capital, although that number could be increased by some  “who still haven’t called in.”

A Lady in White protesting this Sunday in Havana. (Courtesy)

Moya also reported on a Lady in White detained in Bayamo and eight in Palma Soriano, while in Matanzas there were 22. In that locality Leticia Ramos and Marisol Fernandez were arrested twice in a single day and he said that the whereabouts of both women was still unknown.

The opponent also reported that from the province of Ciego te Avila Lucia Lopez complained that she was “beaten at the time of her arrest” by State Security agents and “stripped of her blouse and bra before being released,” in a “clear act of indignity,” said Moya.

Lucía Lopez was “beaten at the time of her arrest” by agents of the State Security and “stripped of her blouse and bra”

Meanwhile, Iván Hernández Carrillo reported from his Twitter account of the arrest in the city of Cárdenas of Odalis Hernandez, Hortensia Alfonso, Cira de la Vega and Mercedes de la Guardia. Likewise, from Columbus the activist denounced the arrest of his mother Asunción Carrillo and Caridad Burunate when they were on their way to the church.

At two o’clock on Sunday afternoon, minutes before being detained, the leader of the Ladies in White women’s movement, Berta Soler, informed the media that there were already more than twenty detained in Havana to “prevent them from reaching the site.” She mentioned that two of them were “released on the road to Pinar del Rio*,” despite living in the capital. “Since last Wednesday morning there has been a constant [State Security and Police] operation outside,” the organization’s headquarters.

She also mentioned the particular case of Berta Lucrecia Martínez, who was detained at noon hours after a solo protest in Calabazar Park. According to the information that Soler has received, the activist stood for “more than 35 minutes” with a poster regarding Human Rights and shouting anti-government slogans.

Last year 9,940 arbitrary detentions were recorded, a figure that “places the Government of Cuba in the first place in all Latin America”

Lucrecia Martinez is one of the Ladies in White who has repeatedly been prevented from attending Sunday Mass or reaching the headquarters of his organization. Until the moment of not knowing the place to where it was led by the police patrol that stopped it.

Calabazar park is a very busy wifi area. As reported to this newspaper by the activist Agustín López Canino, many people “filmed and photographed the moment of protest.”

Last year, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary detentions, a figure that “places the Government of Cuba in first place in all of Latin America” ​​at the head of such arrests, according to a report by the independent organization.

*Translator’s note: Cuban police/State Security often arrest dissidents and drive them a long way outside the city where they are arrested and then put them out of the car in the “middle of nowhere,” to find their own way home.