14ymedio, Havana, 8 May 2017 – At least 38 Ladies in White were arrested this Sunday in Havana, Matanzas, Guantanamo, Ciego de Avila and Santa Clara, during the 100th day of the #TodosMarchamos (We All March) campaign for the release of Cuba’s political prisoners.
The leader of the group, Berta Soler, was arrested along with three other activists outside the group’s headquarters in Havana’s Lawton neighborhood. The women carried posters denouncing the harassment against their movement, dissident Deisy Artiles told 14ymedio.
“The threats they are making against the activists and their families are serious, and many are being fined for simply evading the police cordon in front of their homes”
Soler was leaving the headquarters along with to Yamilet Garro, Aliuska Gómez and Sodrelis Turruella when they were intercepted and arrested by the police. Inside the house were Artiles, along with Ladies in White Zenaida Hidalgo and Cecilia Guerra.
The police also detained, in the vicinity of the headquarters, the former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta and the activist Jose Oscar Sánchez.
“The operation started on Friday morning,” Artiles said, adding that “an act of repudiation was carried out [against Berta Soler] at the time of her arrest.”
Dissident Ada Lopez was also arrested outside her home when she tried to reach the headquarters of the movement. Her husband reported the arrest and managed to photograph the moment she was taken to a police car.
In Matanzas, at least a dozen of the movement’s women managed to reach the church to attend Sunday Mass, while 19 were arrested on the way to the parish.
“We have had an operation since Saturday in front of the houses of the Ladies in White,” said Matanzas activist Leticia Ramos Herrería.
The police “have been embroiled in trying to end our movement,” says the opponent. “The threats they are making against the activists and their families are serious. Many are being fined for simply evading the police cordon in front of their homes.”
In the town of Palma Soriano, in Santiago de Cuba, a dozen members of the group were arrested, while in Ciego de Avila the police violently arrested the dissidents Lucía López Rondón and Mayden Maidique Cruz.
Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) issued a report in which it stated there were 1,809 arbitrary detentions in the island during the first four months of 2017
On Thursday, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) issued a report in which it stated there were 1,809 arbitrary detentions in the island during the first four months of 2017.
Throughout the month of April the organization documented 467 arbitrary arrests, of which 335 were women and 132 were men. 147 of those arrested were black and ten of them were “beaten brutally,” according to the text.
The OCDH emphasizes that a climate of repression prevails “at a time when the Cuban Government has achieved important international support such as that from the European Union and the Government of Spain,” and warns that “in the coming months the political climate may be aggravated because of the government’s nervousness over the difficult economic and social situation that Cuba is facing.”