14ymedio, Havana, 15 December 2016 –The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, was arrested Thursday in the morning when she was about to leave the headquarters of the organization in the neighborhood of Lawton, Havana, in order to connect to the Internet.
Angel Moya, a former prisoner of the Cause of 75 from the 2003 Black Spring and Soler’s husband, told this newspaper that neighborhood witnesses confirmed to him that the arrest had been made with excessive use of force. “She was arrested violently, neighbors testify that they even beat her,” says the dissident who was not at home at the time of arrest.
Moya speculates that Soler was taken to the detention center in Alamar, but was unable to confirm the information.
The former prisoner of the Black Spring told 14ymedio that the Ladies in White movement has not programmed any activities for today. “Right now, the only thing Berta did was to launch a call for Tuesday, 19 December, at two in the afternoon in Central Park, for the traditional Literary Tea, if State Security continues to operate around the group’s headquarters in Lawton, and prevents the activists from accessing it.
Around two in the afternoon the political police arrested another Lady in White, Marlen Gonazalez, when she went out with her husband to buy food at the agricultural market. “A patrol car came and asked for her ID card and they took her prisoner,” said her neighbors in the San Miguel de Padron area.
While all this was going on, at Jose Marti Airport the activist Jose Diaz Silva, a Cuban delegate to the Democracy Movement, he was approached by police before taking a flight to the United States. According to a report from the dissident, the officials warned him that on his return from Miami he would encounter very serious reprisals and that from now on the opposition’s “days are numbered.”
The latest report of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) said that during November there were at least 359 arbitrary arrests of peaceful opponents on the island, over a hundred cases fewer than in October. However, the independent organization warns of a possible increase in repression following the death of former President Fidel Castro.