Photo: Ladies in White Dissidents Cuba
“Repression has worsened” in Cuba and the regime is acting “with impunity in the streets, is beating us, is dragging us away, is taking us to jail,” said the spokeswoman for the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White in Madrid on Monday.
In an interview with Efe, Berta Soler said that she supports the maintenance of the U.S. embargo on Cuba and is even asking that greater international pressure be brought to bear on the Communist regime.
She attributes to international “pressure” the fact that the government of Raul Castro decided to grant passports to Cubans and allow them to leave the country, including herself and opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez.
The Ladies in White was formed after the imprisonment of 75 dissidents in 2003 during the so-called “Black Spring” crackdown to call for their release.
All of those dissidents have been released from prison and many went into exile in Spain. Three of those who remain on the island, including Soler’s husband, have now been denied passports.
The dissident said that “there is no immigration change or immigration reform. ... While it’s partially politicized, the government will have its filter to decide who’s going to have a passport.”
She also said that “the Cuban government - Raul Castro, Fidel Castro - is holding onto power and won’t let it go. They are gaining time with little immigration and economic reforms that are not going to solve the problem of the Cuban people.”
The Ladies in White are continuing their Sunday marches and have not stopped attracting new members. Now, they have delegations across Cuba, Soler said.
She said that on many Sundays “paramilitary mobs” are brought to Havana in buses to provoke the Ladies in White and the mob members even beat the group’s members.
Soler is in Madrid as the invited guest of the Association of Ladies in White in Europe.