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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Angel Moya
May 14, 2013Posted by on
As was recently reported, Ladies in White marched throughout the island this past 12th of May- Mother’s Day. In Havana, they dedicated their march to Laura Pollan Toledo, leader of the group who died in 2011 in extremely strange and mysterious circumstances. Her daughter, Laura Labrada Pollan, read some emotional words in her memory. The women also demanded the immediate release of Sonia Garro Alfonso, Cuban mother and Lady in White who has been behind bars for 1 year and 2 months.
They also sent a message to Berta Soler, representative of the group, thanking her for her tireless work taking the Cuban reality to the world. Angel Moya Acosta, dissident leader and former political prisoner, published some photos of this activity on his Facebook account. He also uploaded the following video on his YouTube channel:
May 13, 2013Posted by on
The Ladies in White marched through the streets of Cuba this Sunday, May 12th, in honor of Mother’s Day, sending out greetings to Cuban women around the world, as well as a special tribute to Laura Pollan Toledo, deceased founder of the group. It was confirmed that some women suffered reprisals at the hands of the political police, although the majority were able to carry out their weekly march, flowers at hand, to assist Mass and pray for the freedom of all political prisoners.
In Havana, 48 Ladies in White marched down 5th Avenue accompanied by 29 male human rights activists. They dedicated their walk to all the mothers of the world, according to a tweet published by former political prisoner and dissident leader Angel Moya Acosta (@jangelmoya).
Leticia Ramos Herrería, representative of the group in Matanzas, said that a total of 17 women marched and assisted Mass in the entire province. She added that in Cardenas, city where she resides, “11 Ladies in White were able to march for 11 blocks after Mass all the way to the Monument of the Mothers, where we deposited 2 bouquets of flowers“.
After that tribute, Herreria explained that the activists began to shout “Long Live Laura Pollan” for various minutes. In this occasion there were no arrests but there was a constant vigilance by the police.
“Meanwhile“, recounted Leticia, “Citizens were congratulating us and wishing us a Happy Mother’s Day when we marched by them. There was a display of solidarity“.
In the province of Holguin things looked a bit different. Although 10 Ladies in White managed to arrive at their respective temples, some were arbitrarily arrested by the political police.
Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the women’s group for the mentioned province, said that all the Ladies in White from Holguin “awoke that morning with their homes surrounded by State Security, under strict vigilance. The operation had started at dawn“.
Two of the detainees were Eimirce Cespedes Estrada (from Velasco, Holguin) and Yarelys Castaneda Almarales (Holguin). The latter “was detained together with her 1 year old son who she was carrying in her arms. Just like that, the political police took them to a dungeon for a number of hours“.
Her husband was also physically assaulted by various agents who applied a headlock on him when he came in defense of his wife.
Guerrero adds that Yolanda Perez Diaz, who is not a Lady in White but a member of the dissident Claridad Movement of Holguin, “was intercepted by agent Adony Charles, of State Security, who told her that she was on his bad side that morning and that he wouldn’t let her come out of her house“.
“I am denouncing the constant abuse, the harassment, and the psychological war carried out by State Security against us, the Ladies in White of Holguin. These violations are constant. In fact, they have told us that we will never be able to go to church“, said Guerrero Segura.
In Palma Soriano 33 Ladies in White marched and successfully made it to church while in the municipality of Santiago de Cuba another 21 Ladies made it, according to declarations made by Ana Celia Rodriguez to this blog. Rodriguez was one of the Cubans recently on hunger strike demanding the release of activist Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza. Her health, like that of the majority of all other former strikers, is still delicate.
The majority of the members of the Ladies in White are mothers and chose to dedicate the symbolic date in honor of so many women who have risked their lives fighting for the freedom of not only their families but also of the entire nation, as is the case of Sonia Garro Alfonso, a Lady in White and Cuban mother who is currently in prison and has been for 1 year and 2 months.
Not even on Mother’s Day does the regime respect these women, carrying out arrests and keeping them under strict vigilance, but they keep praying, they keep speaking out, they keep marching.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a video made by the authors of this blog in 2012, in honor of the Cuban woman:
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Leticia Ramos Herrería- Cell Phone: +52-481-807
Berta Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +53-632-110
Ana Celia Rodríguez- Cell Phone: +52-996-531
May 6, 2013Posted by on
More activists keep joining the massive hunger strike encompassing more than 60 people throughout Eastern Cuba, demanding the release of detained dissident Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza, while the other strikers who have already been refusing to eat for more than 3 weeks maintain their protest, which has led to the deterioration of their health. The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) has been publishing a series of videos and audios in their YouTube channel with updates on the situation.In this video (above), the youngest of the strikers, 17-year old Enrique Lozada, who is the son of Luis Enrique Lozada, defends his protest before various doctors sent by the government to try and make him give up on his demands in the Juan Bruno Zayas hospital of Santiago de Cuba.
“With the level of stress I have right now, knowing that my mother is also on hunger strike, as well as my uncle, seeing as how my family is being torn apart, do you really think I feel like living?”, the young Cuban tells the team of doctors, “Why am I going to live knowing that my father is dying in a prison cell because of a crime he never committed? Knowing that my family is falling to pieces”.
The video concludes with the protest of various hunger strikers that are present in that room. They point out that the regime has ignored their demands and has not even acknowledged the situation of Luis Enrique Lozada and the other strikers.
In this audio (above), Darmis Aguedo, wife of Luis Enrique Lozada, mother of Enrique, and also on hunger strike, explains that she was able to see her husband recently in the Provincial Hospital of Santiago. She said he was being held in an “isolated” room and under the “permanent” custody of two armed police guards. They were able to speak for a few minutes. She said he was still strong in spirit but his health proved otherwise, as he has lots of weight due to the hunger strike.
Meanwhile, independent journalist Alexei Jimenez informed on his Twitter account (@jugandomelavida) that the hunger strikers in Holguin- Franklin Peregrino del Toro and Pedro Leiva Gongora- were taken to a hospital for a few hours on the night of May 5th. Berta Guerrero, a member of the Ladies in White and wife of Franklin Peregrino, offered more details. She said both strikers had been denied medical assistance various times.
On the afternoon of Sunday May 5th, various activists directed themselves to the nearest medical center, asking for an ambulance for Pergrino and Leiva but the medical employees ignored them. A few hours later, a doctor finally showed up at the house, taking both dissidents to the Lenin Hospital to be hydrated. Guerrero explains that the health of the Holguin hunger strikers- whom have already been in their protest for 15 days- has drastically weakened but that they will maintain their protest “until Lozada Igarza is freed”. In Gibara (Holguin), another 4 activists have joined the strike. The response of the political police has been to organize acts of repudiation against them.
Solidarity with the hunger strikers on behalf of the internal opposition has been national, however. In Palma Soriano, various UNPACU members recently carried out a public march, demanding Luis Enrique’s liberation, as can be observed in the following video:
Former political prisoners of conscience Ángel Moya Acosta and Félix Navarro Rodríguez were able to travel to Santiago de Cuba to show solidarity with Enrique Lozada, Ana Celia Rodriguez, Jose Daniel Ferrer and other strikers this Sunday, May 5th, while the Ladies in White dedicated their Sunday march to Luis Enrique Lozada.
On the morning of May 6th, former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ‘Antunez’, leader of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, published a declaration in the name of the mentioned pro-freedom coalition in solidarity with the hunger striking activists.
As for the international scene, several activists have created a petition directed to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organizations so that there be an increase in solidarity with the case of Luis Enrique Lozada, his family, and all the strikers who have put their lives at risk for freedom. The petition can be signed by clicking here.
The cell phones of more than 40 dissidents in Cuba, the majority members of UNPACU, have been blocked in the past couple of days in order to prevent them from publishing information about the strike. Regardless, activists have been reporting the details any possible way they can. The lives of all those who are taking part in this strike are in danger, but they have all said they will continue onward, pressuring the dictatorship to free a Cuban who has not committed a crime and is being held behind bars.
April 29, 2013Posted by on
A number of Ladies in White were violently attacked and arrested by agents of the Cuban dictatorship this Sunday, April 28th, as they tried to assist Mass to pray for the freedom of Cuba.
One of the women who suffered the worst beatings was Belkis Cantillo Ramírez, representative of the group for the province of Santiago de Cuba who recently returned to Cuba after traveling to Brussels to receive the Sajarov Award alongside Laura Labrada Pollan and Berta Soler.
Cantillo’s arrest took place when a group of these women were on their way to the Rosario Church of Palma Soriano. The activist told ‘Diario de Cuba’ that various men, agents of the political police, were the ones who carried out the beating against her, even punching and attacking the women with umbrellas. “They punched me in one of my breasts, they kicked my ribs”, Belkis told the digital newspaper.
Other detainees were Taimi Vega Biscet, Yaima Naranjo, Mariela Rodríguez, Niurka Carmona, Denia Fernández, Madelaine Santos, Yasnay Ferrer and Yanela Ferrer, according to ex prisoner and dissident José Daniel Ferrer García who published the information on his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer).
Another 30 women managed to make it inside the church, but the political police organized an act of repudiation which consisted in shouts of death threats, racial slurs and other offensive phrases, according to Aime Garces, one of the Ladies inside. She explained to this blog that despite the repression “the Ladies in White will continue firm and without fear”.
Jose Daniel Ferrer recounted that Father Palma displayed solidarity with the persecuted women. On the YouTube channel of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) videos of what happened in Palma Soriano have been published:
In other parts of the island, Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass, as was the case in the province of Matanzas and in Havana. Dissident leader and former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta published various photos of these women marching in Havana on his Twitter account (@jangelmoya).
Moya recounts that 44 Ladies marched in the capital, demanding the release of Sonia Garro Alfonso (one of their members, jailed for more than a year) and her husband Ramon Alejandro Munoz. They were accompanied by more than 40 men, human rights activists.
Meanwhile in Miami, the representative of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, participated in an emotional and very symbolic Mass at the Ermita Shrine, along with exiled Ladies in White and former political prisoners, as well as many members of Miami’s exile community. The Mass, hosted by Father Rumin, was dedicated to the fallen Laura Pollan and all martyrs of the Cuban dictatorship. There was a moment of prayer for the Ladies who were violently arrested that morning in Cuba, simply for trying to do what so many people were doing on that afternoon in Miami.
Soler was handed a Cuban flag with the image of the Virgin of Chartiy, while she presented a Cuban flag at the altar.
A moving surprise came when Cuban musician Amaury Gutierrez showed up to sing “Laura“, a song written by Luis Piloto and dedicated to Laura Pollan. In Cuba, the Ladies in White sing this song each Sunday after carrying out their Sunday marches.
Soler has been received with much affection by the Cuban exile, while she has been seeking more international support for the internal opposition.
Through an excessive amount of violence, the dictatorship has sent a clear message to Berta Soler and other activists who have traveled outside the country to let the world know about the Cuban reality, as was the case of the repression against Belkis Cantillo, just days after having returned from her trip abroad. However, the Ladies in White are also sending out a clear message to that same dictatorship: they do not fear them, they will continue out on the streets and they will not rest until Cuba is free.
April 22, 2013Posted by on
Dozens of members of the Ladies in White assisted Mass this Sunday, April 21st, despite numerous cordons set up by the political police. The women prayed for the freedom of all political prisoners as they habitually do, and also in solidarity with victims of violence in Cuba, like the 40 hunger strikers of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), as well as the victims of a terrorist attack this past week in the US city of Boston.
Former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta offered more details on his Twitter account (@jangelmoya). ”50 Ladies in White marched down 5th Avenue and dedicated their march to the hunger strikers in Santiago de Cuba, as well as the victims of the terrorist attack in Boston”.
More than 170 people were injured while 3 died in the Boston bombings. Meanwhile, in Eastern Cuba, the repressive actions of the government have dramatically increased against the 40 hunger strikers, among them Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, as they demand the release of detained dissident Luis Enrique Lozada (also on hunger strike) and calling for an end to the brutality against human rights activists in the country.
The strikers, as well as numerous other dissidents who have joined them in demonstrations of solidarity, have been victims of acts of repudiation, death threats, house raids and arrests this week.
A total of 20 Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas managed to march with flowers in their hands, according to Sayli Navarro (@SayliNavarro), a young member of the group.
Navarro added that in Guantanamo 8 women marched and made it to Mass. When the religious service came to an end, the Ladies carried out their monthly meeting in the headquarters of the group in that area.
Anyer Antonio Blanco, an activist of UNPACU, reported that 34 Ladies in White participated in Mass at Palma Soriano, where Father Palma (the local priest) dedicated the sermon to the women and prayed for their protection, as well as for the hunger strikers.
Blanco said that 16 women carried out their civic march in Santiago de Cuba, and as far as he confirmed, only 1 woman was arbitrarily arrested.
During night hours of that same Sunday, the renown Ladies in White Laura Pabrada, daughter of the fallen leader of the group Laura Pollan, and Belkis Cantillo, representative of the group in Santiago de Cuba and wife of Jose Daniel Ferrer, traveled to Brussels to meet up with Berta Soler, representative of the movement, to finally receive the Sajarov Award, given to them in 2005. The Cuban dictatorship had denied Laura Pollan and other members of the group to travel outside of the country to pick up the award, but now the 3 mentioned women have been able to travel.
Soler has expressed that, in reality, these things don’t represent reforms, but instead attempts to distract international attention over the escalating level of repression against the internal opposition. However, she has been internationally denouncing the constant human rights violations in Cuba during her time outside the country, emphasizing cases such as that of Sonia Garro, Lady in White imprisoned in Havana for more than 1 year along with her husband Ramon Alejandro Munoz.
April 8, 2013Posted by on
Each Sunday various arrests of Ladies in White in different parts of Cuba are reported, but this 7th of April, the first Sunday of the month, a group of 60 women were detained by the political police in the province of Santiago de Cuba, simply for trying to make it to Mass. Regardless, members of the group managed to march in other provinces, defying police operations organized by the regime.
Under the direction of Laura Labrado Pollan (daughter of Laura Pollan) and Belkis Cantillo (visiting from Santiago), 54 Ladies in White marched down Havana’s 5th Avenue after participating in Mass at Santa Rita Church, where they prayed for the freedom of all political prisoners, emphasizing the case of Sonia Garro, who has just recently been transferred to a hospital due to a skin infection obtained in prison, according to her sister Yamilet Garro.
These activists from Havana were accompanied by more than 30 men, all of them public dissidents.
In Matanzas province a total of 17 women marched and participated in Mass. 3 made it in Ciego de Avila and 10 in Guantanamo.
Pro-freedom activists Iván Hernández Carrillo (@ivanlibre), Sayli Navarro (@SayliNavarro), Ángel Moya Acosta (@jangelmoya) and Anyer Antonio Blanco (@anyerantoniobla) reported and confirmed these numbers in their respective Twitter accounts.
Despite 60 arrests in Santiago de Cuba, 4 women surpassed police cordons and made it to El Cobre National Shrine. In Holguin province, various Ladies were reportedly arrested.
It is common for these women from Santiago (many who hail from other Eastern regions) to leave their homes since Friday or Saturday to surpass police operations and arrive to mass at El Cobre Shrine. Many times they have to sleep at bus stations, cross and hide in fields or walk miles under rain and intense heat to escape police persecution. Some times, once near the temple they are refused vacancy by priests at the service of State Security.
On his Twitter account, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia (@jdanielferrer) explained this Sunday that “the Ladies in White of Santiago de Cuba, cross fields, hills, rivers and creeks to try and stay a night in the small hotel of El Cobre”.
The Ladies in White continue marching because they have already conquered a public space, all due to their 10 years of relentless perseverance. They will not allow any government soldier and/or official to take this space from them. The arrests may increase, but so too will the public demonstrations by these brave women.
April 1, 2013Posted by on
Numerous Ladies in White defied police operations and marched throughout Cuba this Easter Sunday, March 31st, to mark the religious date and also to celebrate the 10th anniversary in which they were founded as a movement composed by the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, aunts and other relatives of the political prisoners rounded up and jailed during the Black Spring. Various arrests of these women were reported at the hands of the political police this Sunday as well.
Laura Labrada, daughter of the fallen leader and founder of the group, Laura Pollan, kicked off the march in the capital, Havana, carrying a photo of her mother. A total of 54 women were present in this march. They were also able to assist Easter Mass at the Santa Rita Church according to former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta on his Twitter account (@jangelmoya). Moya added that more than 35 male dissidents accompanied the women.
Sayli Navarro, a young member of the group and daughter of former political prisoner Felix Navarro, tweeted (@SayliNavarro) that a total of 20 Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass in the province of Matanzas.
Meanwhile, in the Eastern region of the country, the political police arrested a total of 24 women between Saturday and Sunday, according to Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). Among the detainees was his 15 year old daughter, Martha Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo.
“In the case of Martha Beatriz, she was detained twice“, explained Ferrer, “she was first detained when she head out from Palmarito de Cauto alongside 3 other Ladies in White to the El Cobre Shrine during morning hours. She was forcefully returned to her home in Palmarito de Cauto and decided to once again head out to the Shrine. She was detained again“.
The majority of the other detainees were from Santiago de Cuba, Mella and Contramaestre.
Regardless, a total of 43 Ladies in White marched to Mass in the Cobre National Shrine according to the dissident leader, “despite all the repressive actions against them“.
The Ladies in White have proven to be one of the most active and successful pro-freedom movements on the island during the past 10 years. The majority of their members were not public activists when their relatives were arbitrarily arrested and sentenced to years in prison in 2003. However, these women took to the streets just days after to demand the release of their loved ones. From that moment on, the police unleashed a repressive wave against them, consisting of beatings, arrests, and in the majority of the cases, the expulsion of their work centers.
The group has been internationally awarded and acknowledged and they have also been able to practice a significant amount of pressure against the regime, up to the point where their relatives have had to be freed as well as many other political prisoners. Throughout the years, women throughout the country who are not related to any political prisoner but who support and compose the internal opposition began to march alongside the Ladies in White. They became known as “The Ladies of Support“. Eventually, the leaders of the group declared them all Ladies in White.
Laura Pollan, founder and leader of the movement, was taken to her untimely death by the Cuban regime, according to relatives and fellow members of the internal resistance. Yet, Berta Soler has successfully assumed the role of leader of the group, which has only grown and strengthened in recent times.
“The Ladies in White have become very active throughout the entire week“, highlighted Jose Daniel Ferrer, explaining that not only do these women march on Sundays, but also carry out social activities for impoverished citizens and underage children.
State violence has not been able to impede these women from gaining public space and the respect of everyday citizens throughout the country.
March 25, 2013Posted by on
This Sunday, March 24th 2013- Palm Sunday- Ladies in White marched to their respective churches throughout the country as they do each week to pray for the liberation of all political prisoners. However, the religious date did not keep the political police from carrying out a number of arrests of these women.
20 dissidents walked alongside 54 Ladies in White who marched down Miramar’s 5th Avenue, in Havana, toward the Santa Rita Church, where they were able to participate in Mass, according to a tweet by former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta (@jangelmoya).
Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, also a former political prisoner, detailed in his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) that a total of 20 women marched and made it to Mass in the province of Matanzas- 4 in the city of Colon, 1 in Central Espana, 2 in El Roque, 2 in Perico and 11 in Cardenas.
Sayli Navarro, activist and daughter of former political prisoner Felix Navarro, published some photos of Ladies in White marching in Matanzas on her Twitter account (@SayliNavarro):
In Ciego de Avila province, 2 Ladies participated in Mass on Palm Sunday, while in Sancti Spiritus 1 made it.
11 women marched and assisted Mass in Guantanamo, and 2 were arbitrarily arrested at the Check Point of Caimanera, according to Sayli Navarro.
Meanwhile, Lady in White Jaquelin Garcia reported that in Granma province various women were detained but 1 managed to make it to church. She was not able to march in the morning but assisted evening Mass.
In Santiago de Cuba a total of 41 Ladies in White arrived to El Cobre Shrine, though another 16 suffered arrests at the hands of the State Police.
It was once again proven that the political police is not capable of even respecting a religious date which this female group observes, and at the same time, the same repressive organs prove that they continue fearing a group of women dressed in white, flowers at hand.
March 13, 2013Posted by on
In a conference in Spain this Tuesday, March 12th, a defender of the Cuban dictatorship interrupted a speech by Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, while others protested with a sign defending the revolution and with the image of Che Guevara, shouting insults to those present such as “parasites” and “fascists”.
In response to the act of repudiation, Berta Soler’s response was peaceful, yet firm, just like the marches these women carry out in Cuba. Soler pulled out a shirt from her purse with the phrase “Yes to Cuba, No to Castro” written on it. This phrase was then repeated by the audience to the point that no one could hear the communist propaganda being shouted by those who interrupted the event. Various names of dissidents assassinated by the regime were written on the backside of the shirt. “Laura, Zapata, Paya“.
See the video below:
Also present at the conference were Esperanza Aguirre (president of Spain’s Popular Party), Blanca Reyes (representative of the Ladies in White in Spain) and Guillermo Gortazar (president of the Hispanic-Cuban Foundation).
On his part, from Cuba, former political prisoner and husband of Berta Soler, Angel Moya Acosta, wrote on his Twitter account (@jangelmoya), “With the slogan ‘Yes to Cuba, No to Castro’, we must mobilize to defend the right to rights of all Cubans”.
March 11, 2013Posted by on
Berta Soler, the national representative of the Ladies in White, boarded a plane to travel outside her country for the first time ever, with destination to Spain, this Sunday March 10th, to participate in a conference organized by the exiled representatives of the mentioned female dissident group.
Her husband, renowned activist and former political prisoner of conscience, Angel Moya Acosta, along with the also former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, used their Twitter accounts to narrate the moment in which Soler arrived to the airport.
“A car with a private license plate is following us”, tweeted Moya in his account (@jangelmoya) while on his way with his wife to the JoseMartiAirport in Havana. However, the activists managed to make it without any complications, accompanied by “35 Ladies in White and 19 male human rights activists”, explained another tweet.
On his part, Ivan Hernandez informed in his account (@ivanlibre) that in the airport there were also “regime agents dressed as immigration workers” as well as “special troops” keeping watch over the group of dissidents. Hernandez added that Roberto de Jesus Guerra, director of the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press’ had his phone “blocked” in order to keep him from sending out Twitter messages to his many followers.
It was confirmed that Berta Soler boarded the plane and set out to Spain at around 12:45 AM.
Just hours before, Soler participated in the habitual Sunday march of the Ladies in White in Havana, where 65 women walked down 5th Avenue and assisted Mass at the Santa Rita Church.
Hernandez Carrillo added on Twitter that in the province of Santiago de Cuba, 60 Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass, 18 did so in the province of Matanzas, and 10 in Guantanamo, leaving it very clear that these women will continue their activities while their leader is outside of the country.
“Berta Soler is already inside the airplane”, wrote Ivan Hernandez afterwards in his Twitter, “May God protect her and may she have a safe trip, and that she may be able to raise her voice for the Cuban people in the free world”.