Cuba’s Ladies in White Show Solidarity With the 11J (July 11th) Detainees

Berta Soler (center with sign), leader of the Ladies in White, during a demonstration in Havana in 2018. (Ladies in White)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 3 September 2021 — The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, joined the fast of other dissidents on Thursday in support of the opponents José Daniel Ferrer and Félix Navarro, both former prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003, who were arrested on July 11, the day of the massive protests throughout the island.

Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, is in the Mar Verde prison, in Santiago de Cuba, according to a letter released by the authorities with the signature of Ferrer himself, although his family still doubts his having signed it, while Navarro, President of the Pedro Luis Boitel Party for Democracy has been on a hunger strike for 11 days in the Combinado Sur prison in Matanzas.

In declarations to 14ymedio, Soler says that her “solidarity fast” extends to “all those detained on July 11 and 12,” among which are other figures of the dissidence, such as the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement.

“We want them free and healthy. Freedom now,” said the Lady in White on her networks, and she also demanded proofs of life from both Ferrer and Navarro.

The dissident said that the first to show solidarity with a fast, in concrete support of Félix Navarro, was Caridad Burunate. “The day after her initiative we are in solidarity with her,” said Soler.

Along with them, she says, there are another twenty Ladies in White fasting – spread between Havana, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo – from seven in the morning to noon.

At the same time, Soler denounces that the harassment of the headquarters of her organization has not stopped: “Here we have the patrols and the State Security agents are visible, and they detain everyone who comes.”

According to the Cubalex legal advice center, the list of detainees, which reached 917 people since July 11, now contains 427 names of those confirmed to be still detained as of this Friday.

From the same day of June 11, the Government unleashed a tough hunt to identify and imprison the protesters through the videos and photos that were published on social networks.

The official press reported this Friday that in Sancti Spíritus “criminal proceedings are progressing for the riots of July 11” and specified that 11 people were charged, one of whom is still waiting for his case to reach the courts.

An article published in the newspaper Escambray states that they carried out five criminal proceedings in which the detainees were accused of “creating a climate of destabilization” during the protests and one of them, in addition, was accused of “instigation to commit a crime.” He was sentenced to nine months of deprivation of liberty.

The local media pointed out that this person “publicly incited, through social networks” … “the people of Sancti Spíritus go out, demonstrate against the Government and subvert order, in the midst of a complex epidemiological scenario due to the pandemic” of covid-19.

Nine of those involved “received administrative treatment”, which in this case translates into fines amounting to 5,000 pesos, as provided in Article 8.3 of the Penal Code for crimes of “public disorder” or “contempt.”


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