Ladies in White Demand ‘Firm Hand’ Against Cuban Gov.

Ladies in White demonstration in Havana (April 2012). Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Blanco Berta Soler, leader of Cuba’s Ladies in White movement, arrived in Washington on Thursday to tell “the truth about Cuba” and ask for “moral and spiritual support” for her struggle against Raul Castro’s government, saying the United States should continue to deal with Cuba with a “firm hand”.

“We’re looking for the moral and spiritual support of peace and freedom-loving governments,” Soler said during her opening remarks at a gathering with Cuban-American senators Marco Rubio (Republican) and Bob Menendez (Democrat), held in Capitol Hill.

Soler arrived at the meeting pronouncing an anti-Castro slogan (“A Cuba without the Castros, a Free Cuba”) and forming the letter “L” (for “liberty”) with her fingers, DPA News reported.

In her statements to the press, she accused the Cuban government of “selling an image of Cuba to the outside world” which has nothing to do with reality.

“I tell the true story about my country, because I am a woman who has to endure abuse and beatings on a daily basis, for no other reason than expressing my views and demanding the release of Cuba’s political prisoners,” she declared.

“We want a Cuba with civil liberties, free and true elections, where real changes take place (…) and we want a very firm hand against the Castro regime,” she added.

Following the meeting, Senator Menéndez affirmed that the testimony offered by the Ladies in White is a confirmation of the need to maintain the “firm hand” against the Castro government which Soler demands.

“Her message is crystal clear: they want a hard stance against the Castro regime, which has implemented cosmetic changes in the country, not real ones,” he told reporters.

According to Menéndez, “the way to help activists like the Ladies in White is to maintain economic pressures on the regime and to aid the opposition within Cuba.”

His Republican colleague, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, fully supports this stance.

“We need a firm stance against the Cuban government, which takes advantage of all funds it can get its hands on – not only through trade, but also from trips to the country – to finance its repressive system,” said Rubio, one of the politicians who criticized singers Beyonce and Jay-Z most severely for traveling to Cuba as part of an “educational exchange” program.

Following her visit to Capitol Hill, where she is to return on Friday to hold a meeting with other Cuban-American members of Congress, Soler was scheduled to attend a gathering at the US State Department, to pick up, on behalf of the Ladies in White, a human rights award granted them in 2011, an award the Cuban dissidents had been unable to claim in person until now.

With her visit to Washington, Soler has joined the wave of Cuban dissidents who have availed themselves of the migratory reforms that came into effect this year in Cuba and who have journeyed outside the island after years being denied a travel permit.

In recent weeks, dissidents of the stature of blogger Yoani Sánchez and the daughter of the late Oswaldo Payá, Rosa María, toured the United States to denounce human rights abuses in Cuba.

From Washington, Soler is to travel to Miami, where she will take part in a “gathering” and “wake” which, according to the call for participation, will honor the deceased Lady in White leader Laura Pollán and those “martyrized and victimized by Castro’s dictatorship in the course of 54 years of totalitarian rule in Cuba.”

According to the program, Coral Gables Mayor James Cason (the former top diplomat at the US Interests Section in Havana) will bequeath Soler the “key to the city”, in acknowledgement of her work in Cuba.

33 thoughts on “Ladies in White Demand ‘Firm Hand’ Against Cuban Gov.

  • Alberto is only concerned with abuses that occur in the US and criticizes the Ladies in White for not protesting US human rights abuses. The point you both miss is that the Ladies are Cuban, so they protest human rights abuses where they live: in Cuba.

    As Moses has pointed out, the fact that a large majority of prisoners in Cuba’s jails are black suggests that systemic racism is a factor in the Cuban legal system. The fact that so few members of the top Cuban ruling clique are black indicates that racism is a factor in the Cuban political system.

  • quite a strange answer, I can`t remeber any of the mentioned having asked Fidel to take firm measures against the States.

  • what do the “abuses of the Cuban government” as you call it have to do with place of birth, sex, religion or race? Are there only white imprisioned, or afrocubans, or mulatos, are they all from Matanzas, or Santiago or Habana? Are they all female or male? Are they all catholic, or protestant or jewish or Santerias? I gon`t see any relation in your argument to what Alberto wrote.

  • Alberto wrote,

    “when someone or something is wrong, it should not matter the place of birth, sex, race or religion of the perpetrator.”

    But that’s exactly the problem isn’t it? So many are happy to excuse abuses committed in Cuba by the Cuban government, while they see only the injustice in the US.

  • Alberto,

    You wrote, “I will not add fuel to the race issue that is raging in Cuba” Whoops,…wait a minute, isn’t the party line that there is no race issue raging in Cuba? Careful, you slipped up a bit there.

    The Ladies in White are too busy dealing with the situation in Cuba to deal with the problems in the US. But I’ll give it a try:

    You are aware of the fact that almost all of those 500 African-Americans murdered in Chicago were murdered by other African-Americans, right?

    Why did “innocent” Trevor Martin punch George Zimmerman, breaking his nose and then jump on top of him and pound his head into the sidewalk?

    The despicable role you mentioned is being played by somebody else, not Berta Soler.

  • You don’t even see the stunning irony in your comment do you?

  • Or Jane Fonda or John Kerry…

  • got an award in fairy tales or what?

  • John, while you are at it, do a Google search on Belkis
    Cantillo, who just returned from Brussels this week, where she joined ‘Ladies in White’ leader Berta Soler in receiving the European Parliament’s Sakharov Award for Freedom of Thought. She was arrested yesterday for participating in a peaceful march and has not been heard from since her
    arrest and her condition and whereabouts are unknown.

  • don`t puti it so absolute. It`s your opinion.

  • John, please google Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera,.She is president of the Cuban Rosa Parks Movement
    for Civil Rights, a pro-freedom group made up by various women who
    dress in black and carry out peaceful marches and acts of civil disobedience.

  • While there are two major parties in the US, all parties are legal, if not popular. In Cuba, only the PCC is legal. While the success of American democracy is subject to debate, it’s existence is undeniable. The policy differences between Obama and Romney were profound. The use of money in American politics is critical to spreading campaign information. The ABUSE of money to distort this information is an unfortunate evil in free societies. Cuba’s single party represents the interests of the party not the people.

  • Berta Soler husband is a writer. His writings were deemed counterrevolutionary. Unlike JWB, he killed no one. No specific charges because there was no trial. That is why the world oppose these arrests and imprisonments. The police beat women, mostly black women all the time. Do not be naive or ignorant.

  • The United States government has two political parties to represent the interests of the people with the power.

    They are essentially the same in their support for capitalism and imperialism.

    The Cuban government has one party to represent the interests of the people with the power.

    It matters not at all how many parties you have if the process by which the candidates are chosen does not begin at the bottom : with the electorate .

    The U.S. is a de facto “dictatorship of money”

    and the Democratic and Republican Parties have as little to do with democracy and republicanism as does the Cuban Communist Party with communism .

    Democracy does not exist in either country and adding more political parties will not make any difference.

  • It is not likely that her husband was sent to prison simply for disagreeing with the government.

    John Wilkes Booth disagreed with the government too .

    What were the specific charges against her husband ?
    Specifically what did the prosecutor say he did ?
    Which specific law was he charged with breaking ?

    The Cuban police/authorities beat women ?

    I suppose they eat babies too.

  • The Ladies in White demand that the USA has a firm hand against Cuban Gov..
    They also demand that the USA’s other hand is full of dollars to give them and keep them in fresh white clothes and keep up their fine lifestyles

  • As an American, I hope to someday have the Freedom to visit Cuba and see for myself this wonderful place my Canadian friends speak of.

  • Dear Mr Patterson, when someone or something is wrong, it should not matter the place of birth, sex, race or religion of the perpetrator. It hurts me to see one of ours, a descendent of 500 years of crime, abuse, segregation and racism, willing to sell her soul for a few silver coins to the highest bidder. If opposing this revolting behavior, which I have seen before in others, is betraying my race, I am happy to do so.

    General Antonio Maceo may not have been happy, but his hands did not shake when he ordered his brother in law before the firing squad for treason.

    For your information and that of other readers, I have many more grievances pending clarification or restitution with the Cuban government than Mrs. Berta Soler and most of those dissidents, but I will never ever resort to a Third Party arbitration, much less the US
    government with its appalling Human Rights record in GITMO, Abu Ghraib or the Bronx..

    Rifor guidance or allegiance in solving my difference

  • Well, he should give her a key to an apartment in MIami, so maybe she would stay there. I guess the pain in Cuba would stay within its linits.

  • There are many. Just have a look around. There is over a thousand Cuban bloggers. They have lots to tell and very often very critical things, with one big difference: they don`t make the big cash out of their being “disident”, they know where they stand and what they stand for. Being critical is always good, but as I said, selling your country is not.

  • Marching for you spouses imprisoned is ok.
    Wanting changes, is ok.
    Selling your country and your countrymen is not ok.
    Or, what would happen, if a Us – Citizen held the same declarations about the US in Tehran, got an award for his merits for more freedom in the US from the Irani government. Well, I can tell you what would happen to him or her: he she would most probaly end up in the gas chamber or get the lethal shot or see life till the bitter end from behiind the bars. But of course, when it comes to acting against a socialist state, everything becomes legitimate and a socialist state apparently is not even allowed to have laws. Strange perception.

  • AC, what would be wrong if you w e r e pro government. It`s an as legitimate position as all the others.

  • no one ever beat her up. that`s one of her stories

  • Ask Michael Moore or Oliver Stone or Sean Penn. Oh wait, nothing happened to them.

  • As I mentioned before, the Cuban TV published last year the recording of a phone call where she was writing down a declaration dictated verbatim from Miami and asking for “her stuff”. Back then there were screams of lack of privacy and unlawful surveillance, but not a single rebuttal of authenticity, so I assuming the content of the recording was legit.

    I don’t have anything against the initial drive of the ladies in white for the release of their husbands, thats perfectly ok, and is perfectly normal to dislike the Cuban government, but the tables turn the second a so called dissident leader writes down a verbatim dictation from someone from Miami for a supposed declaration from one of the most visible dissident factions and is even worse since the recording if implies material gain in between.

    Thats being a puppet in the political game regardless of your political affiliation and to me stinks to lack of integrity. I’ll try to find a link to the video and post it later.

    As for what a dissident should do to gain my approval, is very simple: I expect them to tell me exactly what is wrong with the current government and their vision about how to fix it. At the very least I ask a minimum understanding of Cuba reality and the real issues program designed accordingly to resolve them. And I’m also expecting personal integrity and consistency on their ideals; dissidents for hire and armchairs generals don’t impress me at all.

    Unfortunately, the current dissidents crop seems to have a single plan in three steps:

    1. Free elections
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    Regardless of what happens, the current Cuban issues are not going to be magicked away. They need to be solved by the Cuban people with or without help from US and ignorance and wishful thinking is not going to take them anywhere.

    PD: if you really think the Cuban government would actually kill them I have a nice bridge to sell you.

  • Excellently stated, Alberto. Thanks.

  • If a citizen of the United States were to travel to a government which the US gov’t considers an adversary, and ask that government to take a firm hand against the US, I wonder if he or she would be brought up on charges of treason, or perhaps even targeted by a drone missile?

  • AC, what proof do you have that she is a “muppet figurehead”. Her husband was arrested and imprisoned for 7 years because he disagreed with his government. Doesn’t that alone qualify her to dislike that same government? Yet you claim she lacks integrity? She has been arrested and beaten and lives with the fear of death at Castro’s hands and still you think her words are not her own? What then does a dissident look like that merits your approval?

  • Mr. Jones, I am very surprised to read your comment criticizing Sra. Soler. She is a brave and intelligent woman who has been called a gorilla by her government, arrested and beaten by Cuban security police simply for her anti-Castro beliefs. She is a fellow Afro-Cuban who is risking her life for a better Cuba. She may not take up the cause for justice here in the US, but it would appear her hands are full with fighting for justice in Cuba. Shame, shame, shame on you!

  • Well, Cuba is full with miracles nowadays. Two wondrous apparitions outside of Cuba within two month: La Virgen de los Dollarios , Mrs. Y, and now Nuestra Senora del Cobro, Mrs. S.. I wonder how long these miracles will go on. But its a godless world and I guess therefore so many wonderful things happen.. Everybody just thinking of money and trying to get it by any means. In such times we need miracles to happen in form of altruistic appearances to have something to hold on, to pray to….especially when they are Cuban on top of it. Therefor the miracle is twice as miraculous. Maybe they try to save the world from the devil and hell?Get re – and awarded for this altruistic fight against the evil? I guess that`s why Mariela Castro, the devil`s daughter herself, got her visa denied as she was supposed to participate in the LGBT Conference in Philadelphia on May 4th, and to get the award for her fight against homophobia and gay rights activism . But sure, the fight against the evil has to take place onlevels, wherever and whenever. The Evil has to be fought everywhere. Now do not wonder with such wonders around, one can just wonder what might be the next wonder.

  • So says the woman that was caught in tape writing down a proclamation dictated from Miami (payment.. err.. donation QA section included in the footage). Who would have guessed, she singing the tune her employers wants to hear?

    And as usual she is asking for a free Cuba without the Castros without asking herself whether thats what the rest of the Cubans want. I guess her concept of freedom means the freedom to do want what she likes, damn the rest and democracy is some obscure concept unrelated to the will of the majority.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro-government, I simply dislike muppet figureheads without an ounce of integrity lacking a basic understanding of Cuba issues, not to mention clear goals (besides the standard anything-but-Castro-next-we-pray) and much less a workable plan to achieve said goals.

    IMHO she is just a distraction meant to reassure the hardliners (in both sides) on their predefined path. And for them has been my way or the highway for 50 years already, so is time to quit and open the way to people with less hatred that can deal with the issues at hand as responsible adults and not like children over a broken toy.

  • Something for all Cubans to consider: if liberal and left minded Cubans are unable or unwilling to break one party rule in Cuba, the task will fall to those on the right.

  • One hundred years ago, another Black Cuban, Martin Morua Delgado, played a despicable role in Cuban history, for which over 3000 blacks were massacred in Oriente and today, Mrs. Berta Soler is playing a similar role, with the co-conspirators of that heinious crime, the United States government, who stood guard and supported General Jose Miguel Gomez brutal murder.

    I will not add fuel to the race issue that is raging in Cuba, but to have one of our own, coming to the US Congress and asking for more suffering for her country, ignoring the lynching, marginalization, drug ravaged, poverty-ridden, violent devoured Afro-American communities in the United States, is unforgivable, despicable and she and her group have become part of those who have betrayed their nation then and now.

    Is Mrs. Berta Soler willing to join us in Sanford Florida, to demand justice for the brutal killing of 16 year old Trevon Martin by George Zimmerman?

    Are the Ladies in White, ready to march in Havana or Chicago on behalf of 500 African American youngsters, who die violently every year in that community and many more throught the US, while none of the Congresspeople who are hosting her and the White House are unable to stop?

    While in New York, is Mrs. Berta Soler willing to share some time with the families of Illenor Bumpers, the 84 year old gandmother, brutally shot repeatedly by 6 police tugs in her living room in the Bronx in 1984?

    How about a short visit to Philladelphia, where 11 members (5 children) of the MOVE were burnt to ashes in their homes by a police helicopter,who dropped a C-4 bomb on their home, stopping the fire department from putting out the fires where children, who could be hers were calcinated and no one have gone to jail ?

    Have Mrs. Berta Soler ever heard abuout 23 year Amadou Diallo, shot 19 times by four New York Police tugs as he entered his apartment…. and no one was found guilty? How about Haitian immigrant Abmer Louima sodomized with a broom stick in a Police a Police Station in Brooklyn?
    Sorry Mrs. Soler. Black have too many unresolved, urgente and dire issues in the world, for you to be capitalizing on our country failures, shortcomings and ineptitudes for your personal financial benefits, instead of promoting ways or creating devices to correct the disgraceful racism that subsists in Cuba today.


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