September Returns: a Month of Repression Against the Ladies in White / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

Laura Pollán being assaulted by a government organized mob. Source:

For years Neptune Street in Central Havana, in the capital of the country, has been turned into a stage for the orchestrated Acts of Repudiation against the “Laura Pollán Toledo Ladies in White Movement.”

The present month will not stray far from its dismal history, according to what its own members describe, along with some Human Rights activists close to this women’s movement, created after the well-known Black Spring of 2003.

The street has once again been taken, its usual traffic diverted, and access permitted only to those performing in the repudiation rally organized against these peaceful women. The screams and the help of audio equipment are part of this terrible stage set directed by the Cuban political police.

Insults and obscene words are heard on the lips of the actors who, in many cases, are forced to form a part of the theatrical work, under threats of losing their jobs or their studies, just to cite an example.

Despite these constant acts of unscrupulous people, the Laura Pollán Toledo Ladies in White Movement will not cede under any conditions. Its brave and heroic women stand at the windows and doors and don’t remain silent against the official chorus.

Last September of 2011 was a terrible month for this movement which was attacked in the worst way, with those participating in the act of repudiation physically dragging and attacking the women they found there, united in their desire to pray for the release of all the political prisoners. One of the women assaulted was Laura Pollán Toledo, the leader of this movement, who became mysteriously ill shortly after being scratched by one of the euphoric attackers. A month later in unknown conditions this woman, committed not only to the freedom of her husband but to the freedom of a nation, died.

Today Berta Soler occupies the place left by Laura and in tribute to her has renamed the movement that she created years earlier and which she led all that time.

September month of horrors, led by people who don’t hesitate to block the women who worship the Virgin of Mercy, patroness of captives. Venerated by everyone within and outside our nation.

A single question comes to my mind at these times. How many violent Septembers do we have still to live? I ask God to return Neptune street to normality, for the hatred between Cubans to disappear, and more than this, for the next September to not see an act of repudiation meeting in front of the abode of a woman like Laura, an example of dignity and decorum, but rather than at a future gathering the hands of all will carry gladioli and remembrance and homage to each one of these brave Cuban women.

September 24 2012