Laura / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Yoani Sanchez’s message saying that Laura Pollan, the leader of the Ladies in White, had died, saddened me. I had hoped she would recover from her serious illness, but it didn’t happen.

From the time she entered the hospital, State Security tried to keep her away from her friends, sympathizers and family. They also wanted to move her to the CIMEX hospital, to distance her even further. I didn’t understand much because once Laura Pollan was in intensive care the Calixto Garcia Hospital in the Plaza area, we couldn’t see her. As I had never been there, I thought the hospital didn’t set any conditions on visiting the patients, seeing them through the glass, as happens in other hospitals such as Julio Trigo and Enrique Cabrera Nacional.

She was admitted to Calixto Garcia with possible dengue fever and this wasn’t the only thing they began to uncover as they began to dig over a few days. They realized she was infected, they found staph, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, high fever — signs that her body was struggling — along with the breathing problems.

When they gave the news that she had died and were making preparations for the wake, it was noted that she was completely swollen, indicating fluid retention problems and problems in the urinary system. The wake was less than two hours and then she was cremated. State Security was very impressive and didn’t care about the suffering, they had no feeling over the death of a human being, it was expected. These attitudes of hatred offer nothing, they simply look indecent in the world’s eyes and lose their values, especially any sense of shame.

Well, we have lost a great woman of iron who fought to the last drop of life for change in Cuba for the Cuban citizen. With her ideas she managed to bring together a group of women with the purpose of freeing their sons and husbands, setting an example that Cuban women fight with no fear whatsoever, and also creating for herself a place in history at the very top of Cuban women.

19 October 2011

Translator’s note:

Anddy’s blog, Cubans with Rights, is available in Spanish here; we have not yet created Anddy’s own English site, but will post his texts here. Readers can access them all by choosing Anddy Sierra Alvarez in the link on the sidebar.