Cuba’s Ladies in White

Martin Guevara*

Ladies in White.  Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Paradoxes are the sap of life, the semen behind human development. Our capacity for contradiction has made us rational beings, animals that can experience guilt, before and after acting, beyond the here and now. It has made us bugs that, aware of how insignificant their existence is, can no longer stuff themselves, have a morning quickie, sip wine or even blink without thinking about what will come next, as we might be able to do if we were bears, orcas or lizards.

Resistance to growth, that which denies us self-discovery, has guided us – less expertly than one would expect, true, but, when all is said and done, we move about through light and shadow. One thing, however, is a paradox, a profound contradiction that can reveal the hidden, occult, enigmatic point where two apparently irreconcilable positions meet, and mockery, an insult to people’s common sense, intelligence and integrity is quite another.

These days, the government of Cuba, saddled by the eternal Castros, is hoping to secure a new patron through its habitual, whorish tactics. This time around, it is determined, beseeching none other than the United States, that dark, spider-covered monster, to desist from its cruel and ineffective economic blockade policy and the Helms Burton Act. It is even begging Europe to soften its “common position”, and the most appropriate way they have found to show the world they are becoming more democratic and tolerant was to give peaceful protesters a good beating (humiliation included) and to detain more than 70 people in Havana alone.

At a time when people expected a sign of good will to come in support of Cuba’s aspirations, they beat and detained the Ladies in White and those who accompanied them to celebrate a day that invokes nothing other than human rights, in a way that would be inexplicable in any decent society.

At this stage in the game, I am not overly surprised by the way the dinosaurs roar and claw at people – I can understand that, while they are laying the eggs of the reptiles to come, they pretty up the landscape with a thin veneer of polish and beat the occasional trouble-maker with a club to iron out any difference. Which is why my question is rather aimed at people of good will:

Why aren’t more people denouncing these atrocities? Are we condoning the assault, beating, repression, imprisonment and intimidation of a group of women dressed in white who demand what they wish to demand in a peaceful manner?

What would the Cuban newspapers say if this were taking place in a different country, with a group of women or the mothers of revolutionaries who had suffered reprisals?

What’s more, these women and their husbands stand at the opposite end of violence, owing to their convictions, and they are the exact opposite of those who harass them, true henchmen and prison guards.

What button do we have to push so that these beatings, these abuses, will prompt the firm and uncompromising defense of those assaulted? What needs to be turned on in the anger-meter of those who love, not the revolution, of course, or Fidel Castro, whose rules they would not be able to stand for more than 24 hours, but rum, music and the sex they can procure in their trips to Cuba, so that they will condemn this outrage once and for all?

Three years ago, when Laura Pollan died in circumstances that have not been cleared up, I wrote that we had no need of sharing the person’s ideology to feel empathy towards them in light of the abuses they suffer.

As Che Guevara wrote in his farewell letter to his children: “Always retain the ability to feel, in the deepest recesses of your being, any injustice against anyone, wherever it takes place. That is the most commendable quality of a revolutionary.”

That is what I say to them: feel the injustice, for god’s sake!

(*) Visit the blog of Martin Guevara.

7 thoughts on “Cuba’s Ladies in White

  • Martin, am I correct that your family fled to Cuba from Videla’s Argentina ? Was Videla’s Argentina targeted by Washington as Cuba is, or was it supported by it ? Did Videla’s intelligence agents remove the faces of their prisoners, piece by piece, with pliers ? Did they murder thousands of dissenters ? Are their thousands of disappeared, many who were thrown from planes in to the sea ? Were there not women, dressed in white, calling themselves Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, all who had lost children to the capitalist regime, who truly risked their live when they marched back then ? Are the ladies in white not a cheap, vulgar imitation of the bravery of the Madres de la Plaza ? Have any of the Ladies in White been tortured ? Any family been disappeared ? Where do their paychecks come from ? Do any have more serious injuries to report than those of a girls junior high school field hockey player ? It’s good for you that your Grandfather is not around, and cannot offer his response and reaction to your opinions.

  • Lots of pictures of their injuries have been posted.
    But that isn’t what makes the strength of their message. Any Castro apologist will soon claim they were fake or self-inflicted (or just attract voyeurs).

    What is the enduring strength of the Ladies in White and what made them relevant to the whole world as far as repression in Cuba goes is their resolve in exposing the abuses of the Castro regime.
    Every day they walk the world looks on.

  • Exactly. Whenever I say anything deemed remotely positive about Cuba, or unfavorable about the US I invariably am told to move to Cuba by some oblivious American flag waiver.

  • They can all now leave to go to the US as soon as the embassy opens

  • To draw world attention to the abuse the LIW suffer at the hands of the government and government sympathizer , massive collections of full-color shots of the bruises and welts on their bodies should be put up on the internet .
    The world will pay attention to that sort of thing .
    One picture says a thousand words, you know..
    I would view such a website myself were there enough “naughty bits” displayed .

  • Cuba’s Ladies in White have contributed much to making the struggle of the Cuban people better known and more supported. I guess that is why the regime hates and persecutes them.

    This is where I follow news about them:

    Note: this is not an official site of the Ladies in White as some have suggested.

  • For God’s sake indeed. Amen!

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