Photo: Ladies in White Detained in Cuba
Cuba’s Ladies in White reported that dozens of women belonging to that dissident group suffered temporary arrests across Cuba on the eve of International Human Rights Day.
The group’s spokeswoman, Berta Soler, told Efe that in Havana more than 40 woman were detained by police as they prepared to make their usual march home after Mass on Sunday, which on this occasion was being dedicated to Human Rights Day.
“We put up some resistance, we sat on the ground but they took us by force to a police station at Tarara Beach and at 4:30 p.m. they began letting us go,” Soler said.
The activist also reported temporary detentions of a dozen other members of the opposition, one of them being her husband, former political prisoner Angel Moya, who was released hours after his arrest.
The Cuban government considers dissidents to be counterrevolutionaries and “mercenaries” in the pay of Washington.
Government-aligned blogger Yohandry Fontana wrote Sunday that the Ladies in White, whom he describes as “pro-U.S.,” received “a strong response from the people” in Havana’s Miramar neighborhood when they tried to stage “a provocation” and “a show for the media” after ending their usual march.
U.S. reaction was swift:
We are deeply concerned by the Cuban Government’s repeated use of arbitrary detention and violence to silence critics, disrupt peaceful assembly, and intimidate independent civil society.
We understand that across Cuba, 94 members of the peaceful pro-democracy group - The Ladies in White - were reportedly beaten and detained on December 9. Just ahead of Human Rights Day, the women had used their weekly gathering, church attendance, and peaceful march to focus attention on continued human rights abuses in Cuba.
We call on the Cuban Government to end the increasingly common practice of arbitrary and extrajudicial detentions, and we look forward to the day when all Cubans can freely express their ideas, assemble freely, and express their opinions peacefully.