- @SteveColecchi But wouldnt it be more ethical for Church & @UN to tell the agressor (the regime) to stop as well? 1 day ago
- @SteveColecchi It would be nice to hear The Church or @UN tell the dictatorship to respect rights, as opposed to make them seem like victims 1 day ago
- @SteveColecchi Concentrating so much on the embargo is a distraction. Rest of the world practically does business w/ Cuba..still no rights. 1 day ago
- @SteveColecchi My concern is that there's too much for & against the embargo. The problem of #Cuba is the dictatorship 1 day ago
- @SteveColecchi the same gov in power today in Cuba is the same one that has murdered thousands and continues to arrest innocents 2 days ago
- @SteveColecchi I respect your POV but how is doing (more) business w/ the dictatorship going to improve human rights? 2 days ago
- @SteveColecchi The @UN & The Church should use that same energy 2 tell dictatorship of #Cuba 2 end its own embargo on rights of the people 2 days ago
- Cuban jailed rapper, El Critico, on hunger strike in #Cuba to protest his unjust imprisonment #Censorship #Rap #Music bit.ly/ZMIaEt 1 week ago
"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Photos: Ladies in White at the Freedom Tower in Miami
May 21, 2013Posted by on
This 20th of May 2013, Cuban Independence Day, Cuban exiles and other members of the community of Miami went to the historic Freedom Tower, where hundreds of Cubans passed through in the 1960’s when they arrived to the United States as refugees, to participate in a chat with 3 Ladies in White: Berta Soler (national representative of the group), Laura Labrada (daughter of Laura Pollan) and Belkis Cantillo (representative of the group in Santiago de Cuba). It was an event organized by Miami Dade College.
Before the chat, the 3 Ladies in White offered a press conference, in which dissident Guillermo Farinas also took part in. There, they responded various questions by the press and debated topics such as the constant repression they face in the island for trying to assist Sunday Mass, the fact that former political prisoners of conscience can’t travel outside of the country, the warm welcome on behalf of the Cuban exile community and the current situation of the youth on the island.
Soler called on young Cubans on the island to not leave the country and to stay and fight for it, while she also called on the children and grandchildren of the older exiles to keep supporting the struggle for freedom from wherever they are.
Once the last questions were asked by the press, the 3 activists went up on stage, where Miami Dade College’s president, Eduardo Padron, awaited them. The audience received them with a standing ovation.
Cuban-born international pop star Gloria Estefan shared some words about the symbolism of the Freedom Tower and about the importance of the Ladies in White and their peaceful activism in Cuba. She pointed that “we Cubans are just one people, and nothing will ever change that, ever“. The singer handed the women a plaque with photos of the march in which thousands of Miami residents took to the streets in support of the Ladies in White on March 25 of 2010. The march was convoked by the Estefans after the women were brutally beat by State Police in Havana on March 17th and was caught on film. Estefan explained that the police authorities of Miami had confirmed to her that more than 230,000 people took part in the historic march for solidarity down Miami’s emblematic Calle Ocho.
Soler, Labrada and Cantillo were interviewed by Miami-based journalist Maria Elvira Salazar. They discussed topics such as the acts of state repression against them and other dissidents for defending freedom, the current situation of the everyday Cuban citizen, the motives which led them to take up their struggle, their convictions, and the legacy of Laura Pollan, fallen leader of the group. Her daughter, Laura Labrada, or “Laurita” as she is known within the Ladies in White, affirmed that the regime had to do with Pollan’s death. In an emotional statement, she also expressed that her mother’s passing only gave her more strength to march not only for the freedom of all political prisoners, but also the freedom of an entire nation.
Before the event came to an end, Eduardo Padron handed the women the Miami Dade College’s Presidential Medal of Freedom with the words “Guardians of Freedom” engraved.
It was another one of those encounters which reminds Cubans that, despite the geographic distance and the difference of ideas, we are only one people, one nation, that fights for freedom and needs each and every one of its sons and daughters to achieve this goal.
All photos taken by Raul Garcia and Jennifer Hernandez from “Pedazos de la Isla”. Feel free to share.