Ladies in White (100+) Arrested in Cuba

The Ladies in White are one of the groups most feared by the Cuban government, with their members facing frequent harassment and detentions. Photo: wikipedia.org

HAVANA TIMES — Around a hundred activists of the Ladies in White and other dissidents were temporarily detained Sunday during a protest march in Havana, reported dpa news.

The arrests took place when activists tried to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of a boat in which at least 37 people were killed when trying to flee Cuba.

Opposition groups accuse the Cuban security forces of causing the tragedy by intentionally ramming the tugboat in which the victims tried to flee the island. The government maintains that it was an accident.

After celebrating their traditional march Sunday in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar, the Ladies detoured from their usual route to try to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy, the group’s leader Berta Soler told dpa.

“We were detained along with human rights activists from other organizations when we sought to approach the coast, the sea, to lay flowers for the victims of the tugboat incident,” said Soler. “We were arrested in a violent manner,” she noted.

The leader of the group that began as wives and relatives of political prisoners also accused the government’s security agents of preventing 11 Ladies in White from reaching the march, which usually occurs outside a church after the noon mass.

Most were released a few hours later, Soler said. The last dissidents were released around 11 pm, she added.

Soler noted that the authorities arrested a total of about 130 activists of the Ladies in White throughout the country. The figure “may increase,” as more information comes in, she said.

Las Damas de Blanco were founded after the wave of arrests of dissidents in 2003 known as the “Black Spring”. Their peaceful marches to demand the release of their relatives, gave their situation international notoriety. The prisoners were finally released in 2010 and 2011 after an agreement brokered by the Catholic Church and the Cuban and Spanish governments.

The Cuban government does not recognize the political opposition on the island and accuses dissidents of being “mercenaries” financed from abroad to destabilize the country.

18 thoughts on “Ladies in White (100+) Arrested in Cuba

  • The point is that Cubans flee because under Castro they see no hope of a better future. They flee not just to the US, but also to Europe and Latin America. They would still flee ife there was another policy in the US.
    As far as the 13 de marzo goes: the witnesses quoted by Amnesty and others (see the videos I posted) show that it was a government run operation. The policy of killing people is confirmed by the shooting in La Fe. Both within a month.
    Amnesty International and the IACHR have placed the blame on the Castro regime because of its documented policy of killings.
    The regime did not prosecute, even worse praised, the murderers. That says it all: government sanctioned under an existing policy of killings.

  • The point is, many more thousands (millions?) of Mexicans would flee their country if the US wet-foot-dry-foot policy also applied to them.

    Only the sinking of the “13 de Marzo” was ever mentioned by Amnesty International, and even their account of it presents no credible evidence of any sort of high-level conspiracy. Quite the contrary, as I have shown.

    I am claiming only that this was a hijacking gone horribly wrong. The dockworkers tried to stop this crime, something for which I doubt were trained. They may have been trying to board the fleeing vessel, after failing to get it to stop or turn around, colliding with it instead, with tragic consequences. But you can’t blame someone from trying to stop a crime in progress.

  • Way more people would have left Cuba if Cubans were free to travel like Mexicans. Even today the expensive passports are coded to block people from leaving.

    As shown before: both the shooting in La Fe and the sinking of the 13 de marzo within a month in 1994 show there was a policy to shoot those that want to leave.

    As you yourself have confirmed: witnesses confirmed the coast guard “tiger” was leading the attacks and did nothing to interfere with the killings. the MININT men – not mere dockworkers – that repeatedly rammed the boat and hosed people down were taken to court for “accidental killing”.

    Are you claiming mere dockworkers would – on their own – be allowed to kill 37 people and get away with it?

    From Amnesty International:
    “Several of the survivors allege that their vessel sank after it had been pursued and assaulted by three other vessels, apparently acting under official instructions, and that those on board were given no opportunity to surrender. The Cuban Government denied any responsibility for the
    sinking of the tugboat or for the loss of life, alleging that it was an accident caused by the irresponsible actions of those on board. However, Amnesty International has received compelling evidence, including eyewitness testimony from several of the survivors, indicating that
    those on board the three pursuing vessels employed excessive force disproportionate to the actual situation and seemed to be taking orders from a fourth vessel.”
    AMR 25/013/1997

    The IACHR leaves no doubt who is responsible for the extra-judicial killings: the Cuban regime.

    “CONCLUSIONS

    105. The Cuban State is responsible for violating the right
    to life (Article 1 of the American Declaration of the Rights and Dutiesof Man) of the 41 people who were shipwrecked and perished as a result of the sinking of the tug “13 de Marzo”, which events occurred seven miles off the Cuban coast on July 13, 1994.
    http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/96eng/cuba11436.htm

    More witnesses:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGeHrifH_uQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GiNVkwywrU

    http://vimeo.com/100357227

    Stop blaming the victims. Not the fact they could go to the US was what led these people to flee. The repression by the Castro regime and the hopeless situation in Cuba are what drive people to flee. That is why more than 2 million Cubans have left.

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