EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 14 February 2022 — Ladies in White leader, Berta Soler, and her husband, Ángel Moya, were arrested yesterday for the fourth consecutive Sunday, as confirmed on the social media accounts of other members of the women’s group.
Since the Ladies in White announced that they would protest every Sunday like they did before the pandemic, demanding the release of those arrested for the anti-government protests on July 11th, they have been arrested every week.
“The representative and leader of Cuba’s women’s group, Ladies in White, Berta Soler Fernández and Ángel Juan Moya Acosta, a former political prisoner and human rights activist, have been arrested,” wrote María Cristina Labrada Varona, a member of the Ladies in White leadership council on Facebook.
Hours earlier, Moya had warned about the presence of state security agents near the organization’s headquarters in Havana and uploaded photos of a small bus and several people, among them women dressed in military garb.
On January 23rd, Berta Soler and Bárbara Farrat were arrested and held for several hours as they exited the organization’s national headquarters in the Lawton area of Havana where they had met to peacefully protest for the release of political prisoners.
Farrat spent ten hours in the police station in Cotorro, where she was denied food and water; she was released after being fined 30 pesos. Berta Soler, Lourdes Esquivel, Gladys Capote, and Yolanda Santana were held in jail cells in the police stations in Cotorro and Guanabacoa and were each fined 2,000 pesos, in addition to being warned by authorities.
“We will continue repeating our presence and it is of utmost importance that others join us, so that the oppressors understand that families are actively seeking the release of their loved ones,” she said. The situation was repeated the two previous weeks though the events were not mentioned by official state media nor Cuban authorities, as is customary.
The Ladies in White movement emerged in 2003 following the Black Spring. Two years later, they won the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
The EU and NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticized that wave of arrests, classifying them as political. Cuban authorities, for their part, allege that it was an assault on national sovereignty ordered by the United States.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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