Cuban Police Detain Several Ladies in White to Block a Protest

Images of the arrests of the Ladies in White outside their headquarters. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 23 January 2022 — On Sunday, women dressed in plainclothes at the service of State Security detained a group of Ladies in White along with the mothers of some political prisoners, among whom was Bárbara Farrat, the mother of the 17-year-old Jonathan Torres, imprisoned after the protests of the July 11 (11J).

“They were arrested when leaving the organization’s national headquarters in Lawton-Havana,” activist Ángel Moya Acosta spread on his social networks. Hours earlier, he had reported Farrat’s arrival at the national headquarters of the Ladies in White. “Cuban political prisoners are waiting for everyone. Together we can do more,” he stressed.

In social networks, “Farrat’s courage” was highlighted; in an intimidating act she was arrested and held for hours in December of 2021. Meanwhile, the activist Saily González shared a video in a Twitter message in which Disney Azahares More, Dixan’s sister Gainza, arrested for demonstrating on 11J, along with other relatives of political prisoners from Camagüey, went to the Church in support of the Ladies in White to “demand freedom for political prisoners in Cuba.”

Last Saturday, Ángel Moya Acosta denounced on his Facebook account the “repressive operation” deployed by members of State Security dressed in civilian clothes in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Ladies in White. continue reading

The activists had announced on Friday that this Sunday they were going to resume the demonstrations in the streets of Cuba. “We activate the campaign of confrontation for the freedom of all political prisoners without exclusion,” they announced.

The message was broadcast last Friday, the same day that the Justicia 11J platform reported that Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, William Manuel Leyva Pupo, Yosvany Rosell García, Cruz García Domínguez and Chadrián Vila Sequin, detained during the popular protests of July 11, were on a hunger strike.

The complaint highlights that the trials carried out so far are held behind closed doors, under operations in the vicinity of the courts that bloc access to the courtrooms, and only the presence of one family member of the accused is allowed.

In this context, a message shared by Berta Soler on her social networks says that the “moral and political” commitment of every Lady in White is “to support the relatives of political prisoners who act for the freedom of their loved one.”

In the morning, Soler denounced the theft, for the second time, of the padlock and chain from the gate of her apartment, located in Alamar, in Havana. This event was considered by the Lady in White as “an attempted robbery so that I would leave the headquarters and stop my activism. There is no pact with the communists, to the street, keep stealing.”


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Two Ladies in White who Filmed Matanzas Protests Were Fined 2,000 Pesos

Ladies in White Sissi Abascal and her mother, Annia Zamora. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 11 November 2020 — Two Ladies in White, Sissi Abascal and her mother, Annia Zamora Carmenate, were fined the high amount of 2,000 pesos by the authorities. Abascal and Carmenate published on their social networks the images of the protests that took place last week in the town of Carlos Rojas, Matanzas. The townspeople were protesting the lack of electricity, and the protesters demanded restoration of service from the authorities.

Both were summoned this Tuesday to appear at the Jovellanos Police unit for an interrogation, information that was released by Leticia Ramos on her Facebook profile; Ramos also belongs to the Ladies in White. In addition, she recalled that the previous Saturday the secretary of the Jovellanos Communist Party “threatened to make Abascal Zamora disappear” for filming the protests.

Opposition member Félix Navarro detailed that during the interrogation the “investigators” wanted to know “the name of the person who advised both Ladies in White to go to Carlos Rojas Park on the day of the protest and the reasons for a mobilization of such nature.”  continue reading

Annia Zamora was warned how difficult jail would be since she was in poor health. “But Annia told them that others with different health conditions have also been unjustly deprived of their liberty and they have not been interested.”

He explained that they were trying to put the blame on the two Ladies in White for “instigating the population to yell at [the authorities] and to mob the place” and said that both of them “were secretly threatened with jail, with the intention of intimidating them.”

Annia Zamora was warned how difficult jail would be since she was in poor health. “But Annia told them that others with different health conditions have also been unjustly deprived of their liberty and they have not been interested.”

The leader of the Ladies in White Movement, Berta Soler, also criticized the town of Carlos Rojas for having had a State Security operation since the day of the protest, and for the fact that when the opponents returned to their homes after the interrogation, they found State Security agents surrounding their houses.

Shouting “Liars!”, residents of the town of Carlos Rojas surrounded various officials and military personnel during a protest last Friday, November 6, after spending several hours that day without electricity.

In the video, filmed overnight and widely disseminated on social media, dozens of people are seen surrounding various officials, including one dressed in a military uniform, to demand the restoration of electricity service. “We are tired of lies,” Abascal Zamora forewarns one of the directors who, among complaints and demands about his management, cannot articulate a convincing answer.

Translated by Norma Whiting


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Xiomara Cruz Miranda Left Havana To Get Medical Attention In Miami

Xiomara Cruz Miranda upon her arrival in Miami this Tuesday. (Courtesy of the New Herald)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 of January, 2020 – The Lady in White Xiomara Cruz Miranda arrived in Miami on an American Airlines flight from Havana on Tuesday, to be treated for a disease she contracted in prison in the middle of last year without receiving effective medical care. Her relatives have reported constant irregularities in her diagnosis and treatment.

Cruz Miranda received a humanitarian visa after months of efforts, initiated on August 14th, as Berta Soler — leader of the women’s group — told 14ymedio.  Ángel Moya (Berta’s husband), has been another major activist on the Island.

In addition, on the other side of the Florida Straits she has had help from other fellow activist: exiled María Elena Alpízar, as well as Iliana Curra and Mercedes Perdigón, both political ex-prisoners, and from others in exile who started a petition addressed to the US congressman of Cuban origin Mario Díaz-Balart. continue reading

“Thank God she must be landing already, everything went well on this side, now we are awaiting her arrival. There is a team of doctors there, focused on improving her well-being and on getting her a diagnosis. The Cuban American National Foundation invited her and will take care of all expenses. An ambulance is waiting there for her and everything is ready to assist her as soon as she arrives”, indicated Soler.

“With everything that happened with Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas any activist is at risk when they enter a hospital, because State Security has doctors at their disposal, doctors who will always follow their orders. We don’t trust them and thus of doctors who do not receive orders from the Cuban regime,” she added.

At the airport, she was received by the Cuban doctor Alfredo Melgar. “First, will get a comprehensive diagnosis of Xiomara and then we will put her under treatment,” Melgar told the New Herald, who accompanied her to the hospital. The doctor asked the community for help to welcome Cruz Miranda and her daughter, who accompanies her on this trip.

Martha Beatriz Roque had also announced the news on her social media yesterday (on Monday): “With God’s favor she arrives tomorrow in Miami,” she celebrated.

the Lady in White’s state of health has worsened in recent weeks, with a last relapse that began on December 26th and extended until January 10th, but it remains unclear what disease afflicts her.

From the beginning, Cruz Miranda has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, but her relatives and friends have expressed doubts to the point of accusing the Government of having inoculated her with a virus to make it difficult  — or worse — to prevent her from continuing to exercise her political opposition. That suspicion aligns with that expressed by Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, who has been denouncing, for months, that the regime has infected him with HIV.

Xiomara was sentenced in 2018 to one year and four months in jail for “threats” in a trial described as rigged by Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White. The first prison she went to, was El Guatao (West of Havana), and  subsequently she was transferred to a prison in Ciego de Ávila.

Last August, the Government granted her conditional release when health problems arose, and she was transferred to La Covadonga hospital in Havana, where she was admitted into intensive care.

Relatives have also considered that the Lady in White has cancer, as mentioned by the Cuban Alliance for Inclusion and the Cuban Women’s Network in a protest note condemning the situation in which the Government held the activist and asking international organizations to take action for her safety and her defense.

“Her muscular pains worsened, as well as the intermittent fever. Doctors have confusedly declared, everything from a disease caused by an unidentified bacteria, to even mentioning cancer. Which has baffled relatives, friends and fellow activists, who request her release to take her to another country in order for her to receive proper medical attention immediately,” both women’s organizations were asking for last fall.

Translated by: Rafael (Tampa, Florida)


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Independent Reporter Ricardo Fernandez Now Missing for 48 Hours

Cuban independent ieporter Ricardo Fernandez has now been missing for 48 Hours

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 14 July 2019 — Independent journalist Ricardo Fernandez Izaguirre, who works with 14ymedio and lives in the city of Camagüey, has been missing since Friday morning, according to information provided to this newspaper by the activist Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White.

Soler details that the reporter was at her home in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton, from where he left around 11 am on July 12 to go to the national bus terminal and travel to the city of Pinar del Río. Fernandez agreed to make a phone call to confirm that he had arrived safely, but never called.

Soler fears that the reporter has been arrested by the State Security since he has not given any sign of life in the last 48 hours. Any attempt to call his mobile phone results in a message that indicates that the cell phone number is “off or outside the coverage area.” continue reading

Soler’s house, which also houses the headquarters of the Ladies in White, was surrounded from the early hours of Friday by a police operation, according to the activist. Fernandez, who also collaborates with La Hora de Cuba and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), arrived at the house on Thursday afternoon and fell asleep at nightfall.

The wife of the journalist, Yuleysy Ruiz, adds that Fernández wanted to travel from Havana to Pinar del Río to visit his daughter who lives in that city. “The last time we heard from him was Friday at five in the morning. He called his mother but since then we do not know anything else and we are all very worried.”

A report issued earlier this month by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) denounced that during the first semester of 2019 there were at least 1,468 arbitrary arrests in Cuba.

The organization, based in Madrid, said it has registered numerous complaints of arrests, as well as detentions at airports, fines and other types of illegal actions that have been committed against opposition leaders, activists and independent journalists.


The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.

Dissident Group Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) Denounces 23 Arrests this Sunday in Cuba

Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, is arrested during a demonstration in Havana. (Damas de Blanco)

14ymedio biggerEFE via 14ymedio, Havana, 27 August 2018 – The Cuban dissident movement Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) denounced on Monday the “harassment” by authorities and the temporary detention of 23 of its members in Havana and the western province of Matanzas, after attending Sunday Mass in different churches or upon leaving their homes.

In Matanzas 17 women were arrested as were six others in Havana, including the leader of the opposition group, Berta Soler.

Soler explained that for more than two years the authorities have not allowed the women to reach the Santa Rita Church in Havana, where the group attended mass weekly since its formation in 2003, and at the conclusion of services demonstrated for the release of political prisoners on the island. continue reading

Given these circumstances, she explained that they decided to attend different churches separately, but often cannot do so because they are unable to evade police operations such as the one routinely held Thursday through Sunday around  the headquarters of the Ladies in White in the Lawton neighborhood, in the capital city.

Soler described as “terrible” the current situation of the Ladies in White because they are not allowed to exercise their “rights of expression” and said that the “harassment” against its members is on-going.

In addition, she denounced that four women from the group are imprisoned, among them Martha Sánchez, sentenced to five years in prison August 21 for “public disorder, resistance and attack” after having protested in front of a polling place in the general elections held in March.

She remarked that, in the cases of Nieves Matamoros and Yolanda Santana, they were sentenced to one year in prison for non-payment of fines and a fourth detainee is awaiting trial.

Berta Soler (b. 1963, Matanzas, Cuba) is one of the founders of the Ladies in White movement that emerged to advocate the release of the 75 dissidents imprisoned in the “Black Spring” of 2003, including her husband, Ángel Moya, all of whom were released and, as of today, remain out of prison.

After the death of Laura Pollán in 2011, Soler has headed the group, one of the most active of the internal dissidence of the island.

The Cuban government considers the dissidents “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries.”

Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria


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What Do Cuban Dissidents Think About Diaz-Canel? / Ivan Garcia

On Monday, 22 March 2016, during his visit to Cuba, President Barack Obama met in the United States Embassy in Havana with a group of Cuban dissidents, among them Manuel Cuesta Morua (to Obama’s left), and the independent journalists Miriam Leiva (to Morua’s left) and Miriam Celaya (to Obama’s right). Source: Cubanet.

Iván García, 30 April 2018 — Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a 55-year-old Afro-Cuban historian of average height and thin build, is probably one of Cuba’s most intellectually gifted dissidents.

Morúa’s political proposals are based on a social democratic model. He has tried different strategies, looking for a legal angle that would allow him to carry out his projects legitimately. The military dictatorship, however, has thwarted him. He considers himself to be a man of the left, a position from he articulates his ideas.

The arrival of Miguel Díaz-Canel — a 58-year-old engineer from the town of Falcón in Villa Clara province, about 300 kilometers east of Havana — marks the first time someone born after the triumph of the Cuban revolution has ascended to power. He is part of a generation that, for differing reasons, began to dissent from the Marxist, anti-democratic and totalitarian socialism established by Fidel Castro. continue reading

The hardline, diehard generation is passing away. In the current political climate, the most eloquent spokespersons, both official and dissident, were born during the height of the Cold War. They experienced the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the international communist bastion, the former Soviet Union.

The dialectical struggle will not be resolved at the point of a gun. The system will have to reinvent itself, unleash productive economic forces and rely on the private sector if it wants to bring an adequate level of prosperity to Cubans frustrated by the precarious conditions of their lives.

At one time Díaz-Canel, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Luis Cino, Angel Moya and the economist Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello were all in the same ideological trenches. For reasons of their own, they stopped applauding Fidel Castro and began a long, arduous journey aimed at establishing a democratic society in their homeland.

For Morúa, the transfer of power to Díaz-Canel, “can be read in several ways, all of them interesting. The generational change, no matter who is its public face, puts society on a more equal footing when it comes to dealing with those in power,” he says.

He adds, “The only thing left to do now is make demands. Díaz-Canel is an obstructionist president. He has very little legitimacy. He is not a historical figure and he has not won an election. Every person on the street says, ’I didn’t vote for him.’ The government is incorrect when it claims that Cuba holds indirect elections. Elections here are by acclamation. To date, this president has no agenda. He comes off as a clone.”

When I ask him if he thinks it is time for dissidents to change tactics and devise a strategy to reach out to ordinary citizens, Cuesta Morúa responds, “I think it’s time to think more about politics, to offer a clearer alternative. It’s time to step up to the plate, but in political terms.”

In Lawton, a neighborhood of low-slung houses and steep streets on the southern outskirts of Havana, is the headquarters of the human rights group The Ladies in White. Most of its members are mothers, wives or daughters who had never before been interested in politics.

Their dispute with the regime centers on their demands for release of their sons, husbands and fathers, who were unjustly imprisoned by Fidel Castro. Their protest marches, during which they walk carrying gladiolas, were brutally suppressed by agents of the regime’s special services. The Cuban government’s actions led to strong public condemnations from the international community.

After entering into negotiations brokered by the Catholic church and the Spanish government, Raúl Castro’s regime agreed, for the first time, to release some political prisoners and to grant The Ladies in White space along Havana’s Fifth Avenue to carry out peaceful protest marches.

After their release most of the seventy-five former political prisoners left Cuba. The Ladies in White are still subject to brutal repression by the Castro regime, which has denied them access to the space it once gave them permission to use.

The Ladies in White’s main strategy involves street protests. Angel Moya Acosta, the 53-year-old husband of Berta Soler, leader of The Ladies in White, believes “that the Cuban political opposition needs to confront the regime. If we want people to take to the streets, the dissident community has to take to the streets and to actively persuade the people. This is not a problem about unity. Changing the electoral system in Cuba is up to the opposition and — except for some exceptions such as UNPACU, the Pedro Luis Boitel Front and the Forum for Freedom — that is not happening. Anything else is an excuse for not doing anything.”

According to Moya, the selection of Díaz-Canel was expected. “Nothing in Cuba will change. Repression could even increase. Díaz-Canel indicated that major national decisions will still be made by Raúl Castro. And he ended in inaugural speech with the outdated slogans ’homeland or death’, ’socialism or death’ and ’we will win’.”  Everyone on the island knows that real power in Cuba still rests with Raúl Castro.”

Luis Cino Álvarez, 61, one of the strongest voices in independent journalism, says he “does not expect any political reforms from the Díaz-Canel government except, perhaps, some slight fixes to the economy. He has already stated what we can expect: more socialism and a continuation of the policies of Fidel and Raúl Castro. Stagnation in its purest form. I believe that now is the time for dissidents to come up with a better strategy for confronting the regime.”

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, a 71-year-old economist, thinks that “Díaz-Canel is a person with many illusions. He held a meeting of the Council of Ministers that was illegal, saying that new appointments to the council had been postponed until July. Díaz-Canel feels very comfortable governing. And that is not a positive thing. When they govern, all the word’s presidents feel pressure due to multiple demands from different sectors of society.” She adds,”Cuban dissidents followed the wrong path. They should have taken the road of the people. But with each step they get further and further away from it.”

If there is anything upon which the fragmented local dissident community agrees, it is that the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel represents the beginning of a significant new era. They face two dilemmas: either find a way to motivate thousands of citizens to demand democracy or watch the military dictatorship celebrate the centenary of Fidel Castro’s revolution with a parade though the Plaza.


Cuban Faces 2017: José Conrado Rodríguez Alegre, Priest

Father José Conrado Rodríguez, priest of the Catholic Church in Trinidad, Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 December 2017 — More than a man who believes, the priest José Conrado Rodríguez Alegre (b. 1951, San Luis, Santiago de Cuba) is a human being who overflows with credibility from every pore of his skin.

He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 and since then he has managed to reconcile, without a shadow of contradictions, his devotion to the Church and his love for Cuba. He proved it in the almost 14 years that he was parish priest of the church of Santa Teresita in Santiago de Cuba and continues to do so in his new parish of San Francisco de Paula, in Trinidad, where he was sent in 2013.

In October, José Conrado presented his book Dreams and Nightmares of a Priest in Cuba at the Amphitheater of the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami; in the book he says, “The Catholic Church of Cuba has a future of hope because despite the forces that have wanted to sow hatred in the Cuban nation, love has always triumphed.”

Among the irreverences noted next to Father José Conrado’s name in his secure police file is an open letter to the government of Fidel Castro, dated 1994, and another written in 2009 to the current president Raul Castro, as well as notes of his participation in the meetings of the Cuban Civil Society Open Forum.

Not satisfied, last July he accompanied the priest Castor Álvarez in officiating a mass at the headquarters of the Ladies in White in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton.

His pastoral work, his absolute detachment from material goods in favor of the most needy and, above all, his personal courage to conduct himself as dictated by his conscience, against all hierarchies, make this pastor a personality of the first order in today’s Cuba.


The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.

Dozens of Opponents Attend Mass in Honor of Oswaldo Paya in Havana

Our apologies for not having subtitles for this video.

14ymedio, Havana, 21 July 2017 — At least 40 activists attended a mass in tribute to opponents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero on the fifth anniversary of their deaths, on Thursday evening. The ceremony took place in the church of Los Quemados in Marianao, Havana, and passed without incident.

The daughter of the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), Rosa María Payá, traveled from the city of Miami, where she lives, to participate in the memorial. About 60 people attended the mass, among whom were family, friends and opponents of the Castro government.

Among the activists who participated were former Black Spring prisoner Félix Navarro, the dissident Manuel Cuesta Morúa and the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler.

Speaking to 14ymedio Rosa María Payá said she found “the whole of civil society represented” to honor the memory and legacy of his father. “[All opponents] agree fundamentally: this system does not work and we have to change it.”

Berta Soler said that “the Cuban regime thought that killing Oswaldo Payá was going to do away with him” but that was not the case because “he lives among us.”

Oswaldo Payá founded the MCL in 1988 and died on 22 July 2012 with Harold Cepero, after the vehicle in which they were traveling, driven by the young Spanish politician Ángel Carromero was driving, went off the road and hit a tree.

Payá’s daughter is carrying out an intense international campaign to demand an independent investigation of the case and maintains that the death of her father was a murder orchestrated by the authorities of Havana, and that the car was purposefully run off the road.

A report by the international Human Rights Foundation (HRF) points to “solid indications” that the car in which Payá and his companions were traveling was hit by another vehicle before the crash.

Mass Celebrated At Ladies In White Headquarters ‘For The Freedom Of The Cuban People’

The priests Castor Álvarez and José Conrado Rodríguez celebrate Mass at the Ladies in White headquarters in Havana. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 June 2017 — On Monday afternoon, in the presence of 27 people, priests Jose Conrado Rodríguez and Castor Álvarez celebrated a mass at the Ladies in White headquarters Havana’s Lawton neighborhood.

Berta Soler, leader of the women’s group, explained via telephone that they gathered at the building with “a lot of discretion” to avoid State Security preventing the Mass. “It was very important to hear from those two priests, as we are not able to get to the church, the church has to come to us.”

José Conrado Rodríguez told 14ymedio that the Mass was also a way to show that they both support “the right of the Ladies in White to attend Mass every Sunday” in the Church of Santa Rita, in the Cuban capital. continue reading

“That is also part of religious freedom and the right that people have to practice their faith,” added Castor Alvarez, who presided at the mass with Rodriguez.

“We feel as priests a concern to bring our faith to Cuban society,” added Alvarez, a native of Camagüey and for whom it was a joy to be able to share with the activists and “pray together for the freedom of the Cuban people.”

“We are part of the people and we want to enjoy freedoms, we want them to let us have peace and tranquility and share all the good that we Cubans have in order to progress,” added the pastor.

Along with the Ladies in White, attending the mass were the former prisoner of the Black Spring, Angel Moya, the activist Raul Borges, and the opponent Yosvany Martinez, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).

For more than a year, the political police have prevented this civil society group from attending Santa Rita Church and carrying out its Sunday walk on Fifth Avenue.

Dozens Of Ladies In White Arrested On The 100th Day Of #TodosMarchamos

Arrest of the Lady in White Ada López in front of her house and when she tried to reach the headquarters of the Movement in Havana’s Lawton neighborhood. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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. continue reading

“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.”

Lady In White Sentenced To Almost Three Years In Prison For Alleged Crime Of ‘Attack’

Lady in White Micaela Roll Gibert, 53 years old. (Martinoticias)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 April 2017 — On Tuesday morning the Court in Havana’s municipality of Diez de Octubre, confirmed the prosecutor’s request of two years and eight months in jail for Micaela Roll Gibert, 53.

The woman, a member of the opposition group Ladies in White, is charged with the crime of attack, alleging that she knocked down Luanda Mas Valdés, an official from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), during an arrest. continue reading

According to Berta Soler, the leader of the women’s group who spoke with 14ymedio, the incident took place on May 1, 2016, when Roll Gibert left the headquarters of the Ladies in White.

“Roll was beaten by two cops. When they put her inside the bus to take her to the police station, one of the officers twisted her arm and knocked her down. As she fell, Roll took with her another police officer who was trying to repress her,” explained Soler.

Soler says that Micaella Roll Gibert’s 16-year-old daughter was expelled from the School of Nursing because of her mother’s activism and another of her children, a son, was fired from his job in retaliation against his mother

The officer who fell, Mas Valdés, did not appear in this Tuesday’s trial and according to Soler, they explained to those present that she was “nine month’s pregnant” and “has high blood pressure.”

“The trial was finally held without the presence of the officer making the accusation and instead the court accepted an affidavit, taken at the house of Mas Valdés moments before the trial,” adds Soler.

According to the opposition leader the trial was rigged, prepared by State Security.

“It’s one more woman they are going to send to prison,” says the activist, who notes that some time ago a State Security official proposed to Roll Gibert that she “collaborate with them.”

“When she refused him, they warned her that her life would become a nightmare,” Soler adds.

Soler says that Micaella Roll Gibert’s 16-year-old daughter was expelled from the School of Nursing because of her mother’s activism and another of her children, a son, was fired from his job in retaliation against his mother.

The Lady in White also denounced that other women from the movement are “still missing since early this morning.”

“We do not know where the Ladies Yolanda Ayala, María Josefa Acón and Gladys Capote are,” says Soler.

“None of these women have anything better to do at home” / Martha Beatriz Roque

Site manager’s note: The Cuban opposition frequently posts photos of their repressors — in plainclothes as well as in uniform — sometimes naming them as well.


Angel Juan Moya: Department of State Security (DSE) and National Revolutionary Police (PNR) repressive operation at the national headquarters of the Ladies in White.

Martha Beatriz Roque: None of these women have anything better to do at home.

The Government Prohibits Berta Soler From Leaving Cuba / 14ymedio

The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, says that the government will not allow her to leave Cuba because of leaflets distributed in a protest. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 March 2017 – This Tuesday, the Cuban government prevented Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White movement, from traveling outside the country because of an unpaid fine for for an alleged infraction “against public adornment.” Meanwhile, the authorities accuse her of having thrown “papers in the street,” which the regime opponent clarified to 14ymedio were “leaflets.”

Soler took advantage of the action to denounce the disappearance, this Tuesday, of her husband, the activist Angel Moya. “We consider that he is ‘disappeared’ because when he left the house he was being followed,” she detailed. “Today I am calling him and his phone is shut off or outside the coverage area.” continue reading

“This morning I was supposed to travel to the United States, first to Miami and then to California,” said Soler. However, after passing through the immigration booth and security controls at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, she was intercepted by an immigration official who asked her to accompany him to an office.

The official told Soler that they would not let her board the plane because she had not paid a fine for “throwing papers into the street.” According to Decree 272, whoever “throws into the public street waste such as papers, wrappings, food waste, packaging and the like,” will have a fine of 50 pesos and must “pick them up immediately.”

“Here, the person who owes the Cuban people freedom is Raul Castro,” Soler replied to the accusation. She claims that it was sheets with political slogans. “The fine is from last September, after that I went to Panama and the United States, so I don’t understand this now,” the dissident complains.

The activist was planning to meet in California with David Kaye, United Nations rapporteur for freedom of expression. Instead of Soler, the activist Leticia Ramos will attend the meeting

Last year, when the Aguilera Police Station informed Soler about the fine, she signed a document informing her of the contravention with an ironic “Down you-know-who,” and threw it in the agents’ faces, telling them: “I do not accept any inappropriate fines.”

Subsequently, Soler was informed that the unpaid fine could be doubled, and it was suggested that the police could exchange each Cuba peso (approximately 4 cents US) of the fine for one day in jail or instead not let her travel on Tuesday.

The activist was planning to meet in California with David Kaye, United Nations rapporteur for freedom of expression. Instead of Soler, Lady in White Leticia Ramos will attend the meeting.

“In the report we list all those fines that they assign to us inappropriately,” reflects Soler. “They are illegal and violate the Republic’s penal code,” a situation that is complemented by “the harassment, the threat and violence that is unleashed against our families, against our children and our husbands to try to get us to stop our activism.”

This month marks a year since the Lady in White was prevented from attending mass at Santa Rita parish, and also blocked from attending the Sunday marches on 5th Avenue, a traditional route that goes back to the origins of the movement after the repressive wave of 2003, known as the Black Spring.

Cuban Human Rights Group Denounces The Death Of A Political Prisoner Pending Trial / 14ymedio

Hamel Santiago Maz Hernández had been in prison for eight months pending trial. (CCDHRN)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 March 2017 — The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) has denounced the death of political prisoner Hamel Santiago Maz Hernández, an activist from UNPACU, who died* on February 24 at Combinado del Este prison in Havana. The opponent had been imprisoned for eight months without trial for the alleged offense of contempt.

The CCDHRN has released its report for the month of February in which it says that “there have been thousands of cases of Cubans killed in government custody,” a situation for which the authorities bear all the “moral and legal responsibility.” continue reading

The report includes the 482 arbitrary arrests of dissidents last month, a “slightly higher figure than in January.”

The CCDHRN also documented 16 cases of physical aggression and 18 of harassment, “by the secret political police and para-police agents,” with the victims being peaceful opponents, adds the report.

The report includes the 482 arbitrary detentions of dissidents last month, a “slightly higher figure than in January”

The text clarifies that, given “the closed nature of the regime that has ruled Cuba for almost 60 years,” it is “impossible to record the thousands of violations of fundamental rights” that occur throughout the island each month.

Nevertheless, it reports that the Ladies in White and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) are once again the organizations most repressed. In the case of the women’s organization, they have been “subjected to humiliations and other abuses” over and over. For its part, 54 members of the UNPACU “are political prisoners, most of whom remain imprisoned without formal charges or pending trial.”

During 2016, the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented 9,940 arbitrary detentions. This figure “places the Government of Cuba in the first place in all of Latin America,” according to the independent organization.

*Translator’s note: Cuban State Security informed his wife that he died of a heart attack.

Havana’s Archbishop Asked Cuban Government “To Sit Down And Talk To The Opposition,” Says Berta Soler / 14ymedio

The Archbishop of Havana, Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 February 2017 — Berta Soler, after meeting this Wednesday with Archbishop of Havana Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriguez, said that he has offered his full support to the Ladies in White and that the prelate told her he had asked the Government to sit down and talk to the opposition.

“We ask the Catholic Church to speak out, because whoever is silent supports [the government], and he said to me: ‘No Berta, silence is not always support. We have asked the Cuban Government to sit down and talk to the opposition, but what we say is one thing and what they do is another,” Soler told 14ymedio. continue reading

Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White, and Maria Cristina Labrada, a member of the organization, met with Juan de la Caridad Rodriguez early Wednesday morning and the Archbishop told them that that during the trip from their Lawton headquarters they were “monitored by a large operation made up of the National [Revolutionary] Police and State Security.”

According to Soler’s account, at the meeting the Archbishop was “very receptive” to the movement’s complaints, and they explained to the prelate how they are systematically prevented from reaching the church to attend mass and are victims of abuse such as thefts and fines for “violating the security cordon of the Communist Party of Cuba” when they leave their homes.

“We were able to give him some names and surnames of those who have told us that we could never go to mass at any church,” she added.

María Cristina Labrada and Berta Soler received from the hands of the Archbishop “a family Bible with a dedication for each of us,” and they gave him “a CD and two reports with evidence of repression” suffered by the women’s movement and their families. Both left the door open for a future second meeting.

Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez was named Archbishop of Havana in April of last year after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Jaime Ortega and Alamino who retired, as established by the Code of Canon Law, after having reached the age of 75.

A few weeks after taking office, Garcia Rodríguez generated a bitter controversy in declaring that he did not want Cuba to “have capitalism or anything like that, but that socialism should progress” to go “forward in a just and balanced society and one of brotherhood.”