The Leader of Cuba’s Ladies in White Faces Arrest Thirteen Consecutive Sundays

Archive image of Berta Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White women’s opposition movement. (EFE/Giorgio Viera)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 19 April 2022 —  The leader of the Ladies in White opposition women’s movement, Berta Soler, was detained for the thirteenth consecutive Sunday after leaving the organization’s headquarters in Havana, dissident activists denounced this Monday.

Soler was accompanied by her husband, also an opponent and former prisoner Ángel Moya; at the time of the arrest both were taken to police units in the Havana municipalities of San Miguel del Padrón and Guanabacoa, respectively, as he explained in his Facebook account.

Moya denounced that both were confined in cells and released this morning after the imposition of fines of 7.50 Cuban pesos (equivalent to less than a dollar) for him and 30 Cuban pesos (1.25 dollars) for Soler.

This is Soler’s second arrest in the last week, according to another complaint by Moya last Wednesday, April 13, in which he reported that on that occasion the arrest occurred when he was trying to move to the province of Matanzas, located 100 kilometers east of Havana.

The opponent said that this other temporary arrest of Soler occurred “under pretext, first, for the alleged crime of public disorder and finally for a debtor of fines.”

The members of the Ladies in White have been arrested every weekend since they announced last January that, as before the pandemic, they would go out to protest on the streets again, this time for those detained in the July 11th (11J) protests.

The Ladies in White movement was created in 2003 by a group of female relatives of 75 dissidents and independent journalists arrested and sentenced in March of that year to long prison sentences after a wave of repression by the Cuban government known as the Black Spring.

The wives, mothers and other relatives of those prisoners began a series of Sunday marches to call for their release and became a symbol of dissidence.

In 2005, the Ladies in White received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament.

The EU and NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticized that wave of arrests, calling them political.

The Cuban authorities, for their part, alleged that they were counterrevolutionaries seeking to attack national sovereignty on orders from the United States.

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