Ladies in White defy Castro regime crackdown
By Alberto de la Cruz on 04/18/2011 – 6:20 am PDT — Headlines
While the Castro dictatorship attempted to keep any and all dissidents
and opposition leaders from protesting publicly during the Cuban
Communist Party Congress this weekend, the Ladies in White courageously
took to the streets over the weekend.
HAVANA: Cuba's highest-profile dissidents marched defying President
Raul Castro's warning, issued hours earlier, that foes of the communist
regime were not welcome on Cuban streets.
"Our fight has been and will continue to be achieving freedom for
political prisoners," said Laura Pollan yesterday, leader of the Ladies
in White group of political prisoners' kin, as the group took to Havana
The dissidents, who have been honoured with the European
Parliament's Sakharov prize, march most on Sundays in Havana, dressed in
white and carrying flowers, to draw attention to their relatives' plight.
But this Sunday was different: just hours earlier the president
addressed the rare Cuban Communist party congress under way, putting
political foes on notice that they would not find a public space or
openness to anti-regime ideas.
"Defending the independence of the achievements of socialism, and
our squares and streets, will continue to be the duty of all Cuban
patriots," Castro stressed.
Pollan said Castro was inciting pro-government activists, who may
believe they will be rewarded by the regime for actions against
dissidents, to target her award-winning group.
The president "is giving free rein to (pro-regime) mobs to target
people who are going out into the streets to protest or seek freedom"
for prisoners, Pollan said.
"We cannot accept provocations like that; that is what the
government wants as they seek to discredit us somehow," she added.