The Legacy of Laura Pollan

Erasmo Calzadilla

Laura Pollan. Foto: Patricia Grogg/IPS

You have to be very intelligent and have your wits about you to do what Laura Pollan did as the leader of the Ladies in White, especially since she knew beforehand that she would be mistreated, made worse due to her age and failing health.

She would march with her companions, all holding flowers in their hands and of course dressed in white. They proceeded without offending anyone, though they themselves were offended. They marched without crying out for a fallen comrade, without encouraging hatred.

Nevertheless, this system acts as if it’s extremely fearful, as if the slightest slackening up on the fear felt by citizens could sweep it away like a leaf in the wind. Could that be true?

It’s not that I have blind admiration for Laura. I lost sympathy for her when on a broadcast of the program Razones de Cuba I heard her supporting the coup in Honduras, speaking directly with the leader of the coup.

I wasn’t born yesterday. I know it all might be a trick, a montage, but I have the impression that in this case it wasn’t. In any case, since they never let her express herself publicly here in Cuba, one is left with tinge of doubt, for example thinking that she could have even later changed her mind regarding the coup.

I do not know what other links Pollan had with the US government. But even if it’s true that they financed her and dictated what she should do, that doesn’t stop me from recognizing that along with her colleagues Laura discovered a very ingenious way of “taking back the street,” which since then will no longer be “only for revolutionaries.”

Thanks to her, now the “streets” are at the disposition of anyone who wants to use them — including the left — and our best tribute to her now that she has passed will be to prevent them from ever again belonging exclusively to one faction.

2 thoughts on “The Legacy of Laura Pollan

  • When I read “El Nuevo Herald”, recently, I saw many picture of “The Ladies in White” walking alone on the street of Miramar, Habana with the portreit of Laura Polian, alone, nobody supporting them in the street, Where is the people of Cuba that supporting them like the “Ocuppy” or “99%” in New York with food, supplies and money inside Cuba, not outside?, really, until now the cuban population is not supporting “Ladies in White” as a local political or social movement as we see happen in United States with people against Wall Street,I am not in order to think that everybody in Cuba is more free thanks Laura Polian. It is an ilusion in the foreign media, but not inside Cuba, I have been there visiting the family in 2009 and nobody talk about “Ladies in White”, even nobody knows her when I took about the issue and really nobody demostrated interest in political discussion about the goverment even when they were critic about managing the economy, in ten days I found one isolate real dissident in hundreds of interview with more than 300 hundreds people in my former town in Cuba.I was journalist and writer in Havana i for several year in ICRT before emigrated to United States with my family, I considered a political very low level of influenced inside Cuba of “The ladies in White”.

  • Erasmo Calzadilla! Was Laura Pollan allowed to defend herself on Cuban television and/or Press, or for that matter Yoani Sanchez or any other dissident? THAT SHOULD ANSWER A LOT OF YOUR DOUBTS ABOUT THE STORIES SURROUNDING HER LEGACY!

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