Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Eleney Villamonte Cardozo

Number of Ladies in White marching throughout the streets of Cuba increases

Wearing flags with the image of the Virgin of Charity which were donated during her visit to the Ermita de la Caridad in Miami, Berta Soler led the march of the Ladies in White in Cuba’s capital, Havana, this past Sunday June 2nd.  The women marched throughout the country, despite the presence of the political police.

A total of 68 women participated in Mass at the Santa Rita Church of Havana and marched down 5th Avenue afterward, according to a report by dissident leader Angel Moya Acosta.  It was the first march in which Soler participated after returning to the island last week after an international trip denouncing the reality of Cuba.

More than 10 women participated in Mass and carried out marches in the province of Matanzas.

In the Eastern province of Guantanamo, 12 Ladies in White marched and made it to Mass, according to a message published by Sayli Navarro on her Twitter account (@SayliNavarro).

67 Ladies in White marched through the streets of Santiago de Cuba province and made it to Mass in the National Cobre Shrine, an emblematic temple within Cuban culture.

The website “Ya Cuba Twittea” reported that at least 3 Ladies in White from Santiago were taken down from a bus by force by the political police.  The agents impeded them from arriving to Mass.

In the province of Holguin, various women were arrested.

Among the detainees were Rosa Maria Naranjo (Holguin), Danay Mendiola (Holguin), Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante (Antilla) and Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez (Banes).  The latter- Ojeda Suarez- explained to this blog that the repression against her is constant.  In fact, she recounts that when she was detained, a political police agent tried to handcuff her and physically harassed her.

Eleiny Villamonte, a young member of the female group in Holguin, confirmed that despite repression 5 women “were able to march and make it to Mass in the municipality of Cacocum and in the municipality of Holguin“.

Berta Soler also told  “Marti Noticias” that she has plans of expanding the Ladies in White movement, creating delegations in all the provinces of the country.

With perseverance, more than 100 Ladies in White attended Mass this first Sunday of March

State Security unleashed a wave of arrests, a Catholic administrator refused to lend his temple to shelter them, and the weather conditions consisted of heavy rains and lots of cold, and yet more than 100 Ladies in White marched throughout Cuba and participated in their respective churches to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners and the entire country this Sunday, March 3rd.

As each Sunday, former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to document what was happening with these women throughout the island.

One of the first tweets published by Hernanez informed that in the province of Pinardel Rio 4 Ladies in White managed to march and arrive to Mass, while another 6 were detained. “Marti Noticias” published an article about the violent of Noralis Martin, the representative of the group in that province, alongside her husband Jose Rolando Casares.

The names of other Ladies detained in Pinar del Rio were Lin Elaida Quiñónez, Caridad Peinado Gutiérrez, Belkis Pérez Pérez, Yaima Ledesma Santana and Yaneris Rodríguez Morejón.

In Havana, despite heavy rains, 44 Ladies in White defied the vigilance of the state police and marched down 5th Avenue and participated in Mass at Santa Rita Church, accompanied by more than 30 male dissidents.

Ladies in White march in Havana. March 3rd, 2013. Pubished by @jangelmoya

Hernandez Carrillo tweeted that in Matanzas province a total of 14 women made it to Mass. 7 participated in the city of Cardenas, 5 in Colon, 1 in Perico and 1 in Roque.

4 Ladies in White participated in Mass in the central province of Villa Clara, while another 3 were detained. These were Lisandra Farrai Rodríguez, Aime Moya Montes de Oca and Malvelis González Reyes.

Ladies in White march in Colon, Matanzas. March 3rd, 2013. Published by @SayliNavarro

In the Eastern region of the country, 4 women were arrested in Granma, 9 made it to Mass in Guantanamo, and a total of 54 Ladies in White participated in Mass at the El Cobre National Shrine, despite having slept the night out in the open after an administrator of that temple refused to offer them shelter.

Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), published a series of tweets (@jdanielferrer) recounting the situation.

“Without any doubts, the administrator known as Enrique, is being hostile towards the Ladies in White due to pressures of the political police”, read one message, while another signaled that “Enrique refused shelter to the Ladies in White because, supposedly, there were not enough rooms available in the Sanctuary…Afterwards, he gave various people rooms, including a political police agent who went there to watch the Ladies in White”.

“The day that the Cuban people open the archives of the G2 (secret police), many will be shocked to see how many collaborators were in different churches”, Ferrer Garcia expressed in another message.

Meanwhile, in Holguin 8 women arrived at church and another 4 were beaten by the police after Mass. The victims of the violence were Romelia Piña, Marlenis Abreu, Mirta Molina Leyva and Glisedis Piña González.

Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, a young member of the group, told this blog that at around 9 AM she was violently arrested by the police upon trying to make it to the Jesus Chrsit Redeemer of MenChurch in Holguin.

The State Security agent known as ‘The Polish’ rushed up at me…he grabbed me by one of my arms and told me I was arrested“, said Villamonte, who peacefully resisted but was forcefully introduced into a police vehicle. She was taken to the police unit known as “La Segunda”.

They left me there in a salon with an immigration agent. I was then taken to a room where a lady approached me and told me her story…she said she was very tired because she had made countless accusations against a man who had threatened her daughter with death but police authorities had completely ignored her case“, says Eleiny, “I told her that that’s how things are in this country, that they waited until someone was killed in order to act“.

When the immigration agent heard this, she told the Lady in White to shut up. “She nearly slapped me and told me various times to shut my mouth because, if not, I would suffer the consequences“. Eleiny stood by her opinions and, under various threats, was finally released at around 12:30 PM, after Mass had come to an end.

In the case of Mildred Noemi Sanchez Infante, a Lady in White from Antilla, she was arrested as soon as she stepped out of her house on her way to the city of Holguin to participate in Mass alongside the other women, according to declarations she made to “Radio Republica” in this audio. Mildred was threatened by the police that she could not travel to Holguin during the weekends.

Berta Soler, representative of the Ladies in White at a national level, told the same medium that “just one Lady in White that arrives to any church in the country means that Christ is listening to our prayers…for the liberation of all political prisoners and the respect to human rights. And one Lady in White represents all Ladies in White in the country”.

For more information from Cuba:

Berta Soler- Cell Phone: +52-906-820
Eleiny Villamonte- Cell Phone: +52-393-169
Mildred Sánchez- Cell Phone: +52-615-097
Iván Hernández- Cell Phone: +52-599-366 / Twitter: @ivanlibre
José Daniel Ferrer- Cell Phone: +53-146-740 / Twitter: @jdanielferrer
Ángel Moya Acosta- Cell Phone: +53-820-595 / Twitter: @jangelmoya

Ladies in White continue on the streets in 2013

The Ladies in White kicked off 2013 the same way they finished 2012: out on the streets, flowers in hand, demanding freedom for all political prisoners and, in sum, for Cuba.

According to a series of Twitter messages published by former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo (@ivanlibre), 44 of these women carried out their accustomed march down Havana’s 5th Avenue after assisting Mass in the Santa Rita Church.

Other tweets published by the dissident explained that in the province of Matanzas a total of 18 Ladies made it to church, despite police vigilance.  Specifically, 11 made in the city of Cardenas, 2 in Perico and 5 in Colon.

In the Eastern province of Guantanamo, 8 Ladies in White reported that they achieved their objective and made it to Sunday Mass.

However, in Holguin- also in the East- several of these activists were arrested, declared Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, a young Lady in White who made it to church but confirmed the detentions of others.

I was able to make it because my husband took me on his bicycle and he managed to evade the police.  I quickly got off and that’s how I made it to church”, said Villamonte, “In total, 3 of us were able to make it to church this Sunday”.

Among the more than 5 detainees whom the young activist mentioned were Bertha Guerrero Segura, representative of the group in Holguin province, and Romelia Pina Gonzalez.

This Sunday, January 6th, was also Three Kings Day- a tradition which, like Christmas, was prohibited for many years under the current communist dictatorship and which is still ignored and talked down on the State media (the only allowed press).  To celebrate the date, a number of Ladies in White and other dissidents of diverse organizations on the island organized parties and gift exchanges for children.

Angel Moya Acosta, former political prisoner and husband of the national representative of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, wrote on his Twitter account (@jangelmoya) that the women managed to make it to their headquarters on Neptuno Street in Havana this Saturday, January 5th, with more than 40 children, giving them some toys and carrying out a small party for them in honor of the date.

Meanwhile, in Palmarito de Cauto, Palma Soriano, the also former political prisoner and leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, detailed on his own account (@jdanielferrer) that numerous children spent a moment of celebration among friends and family in the homes of various activists throughout that region this Sunday.

Similar activities also took place this Sunday throughout different parts of Santiago de Cuba, Velasco and Holguin, although some of these were interrupted by the repressive actions of the political police.

2013 has already begun with various civic demonstrations out on the streets of the country, which have been carried out by diverse pro-freedom groups from East to West.

Last Sunday of 2012: Ladies in White Keep Marching

Ladies in White throughout the country made it to Mass and carried out their weekly march this last Sunday of 2012, the 30th of December, after a year in which repression against them, and the opposition in general, has increased drastically.

32 of these women arrived at Mass in the Santa Rita Church of Havana, 7 in Pinar del Rio, 20 in Matanzas, 6 in Guantanamo, 2 in Ciego de Avila and 2 in Holguin, affirmed Berta Soler, representative of the female group.

Soler considered the situation to be “an achievement“, considering that in nearly all the cases, in the mentioned provinces the Ladies in White arrived at their respective churches, surpassing police cordons and evading arrests, except in Holguin where 9 of the women were detained.

The detainees in the mentioned Eastern province were Bertha Guerrero Segura, Ana María Aguilera Panque, Romelia Piña González, Marlene Abreu Almaguer, Rosa María Naranjo Nieve, Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, Viviana Campo, Eunices Céspedes Estrada y Bárbara Bauza Driggs.

Bertha Guerrero, representative of the group in Holguin, detailed that the arrests occurred during early morning hours, especially that of Eunices Cespedes, resident of the municipality of Velasco, who was abruptly arrested at 4 in the morning.

They kept us arrested up to around 12:30 in the afternoon, after Mass had ended in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church“, said Guerrero, “Afterward, they left us stranded in different parts on the outskirts of Holguin, forcing us to walk miles to get to our homes“.  State Security agents placed a video camera this year in front of the mentioned church to keep watch over the Ladies.  The same camera had previously been installed outside the home of recently exiled Lady in White and human rights activist Caridad Caballero Batista, who also suffered countless arrests this year for trying to make it to church.  The camera was relocated as soon as she left the country.

During her arrest, Bertha Guerrero denounced that the Second Chief of Confrontation, known as Yordanis Martinez Leon, told her that “if the Ladies in White want to make it to church, we’d have to buy ourselves a helicopter to drop us off at the church because they were never going to let us get there“.  It is not the first time this repressor tells her that.

Sunday after Sunday we have been detained and, in addition, also threatened with our children and families“, added Guerrero, citing the case which also occurred this Sunday, where one of the detainees- Barbabra Bauza- “had her son arrested because on Saturday, some citizen burned a Cuban flag in the Calixto Garcia park.  Her son was arriving home in the morning and since State Security had not been able to arrest or blame anybody, they did so with him, taking him to the instructional unit known as Pedernales.  Agent Rafael Chapman, of State Security, told Barbara that he does not care if her son is a minor (16 years of age), for he would invent a crime for him and take him to prison.  This happens simply because he is the son of a Lady in White“.  She added that the women are ready to take to the streets in protest to demand his freedom.

Guerrero said that despite the repression, the Ladies in White of Holguin will continue marching and that she has hope that 2013 will bring good things for Cuba.

In an emotional case, Leticia Ramos Herreria, representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas, explained that in addition to the fact that 20 women of the province made it to Mass, in the church known as “The Parish” in the city of Cardenas, a group of these acitvists were greeted with respect and admiration by churchgoers.

The people rose from their seats when it was time to share the greeting of peace, and they came up to us, hugged us, and gave us their blessings“, recounted Ramos, “When we left the church, we carried out our march and many people also came up to us, displaying their support, greeting us, saying that we are doing the right things and saying that they hope more people rise like us“.

Leticia said she felt lots of happiness, considering that “we have achieved to carve out a space not only in the church but also amongst the people“.

There have been far too many beatings, arrests, deportations, threats, and other forms of State persecution and violence against the Ladies in White this 2012.  In fact, one of the most repressive of cases occurred in February when two members of the group- one from Pinar del Rio and the other from Palma Soriano- suffered miscarriages after police arrested and harassed them.  Their names are Noralys Martin Hernandez and Taimi Vega Biscet. (Read more about these cases here).

Regardless, everything signals that the increase in repression is attributed to the fact that the group has significantly increased in size and that its members have not stopped defying the dictatorship for one moment.  They have been persistent in their marches, declarations and activities.

Despite the repression“, said Berta Soler, “the most important thing is that the Ladies in White will continue stronger and more prepared than ever.  We will continue our peaceful struggle for the freedom of all political prisoners as well as the respect of human rights in 2013.  We will continue to grow throughout the island.  The Cuban government’s repression has only made us more united“.

For more information from Cuba:

Berta Soler- Cell Phone: +5352-906-820

Bertha Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +5353-632-110

Leticia Ramos Herrería- Cell Phone: +5352-481-807

State Police Lashes Out Against Ladies in White of Holguin

“They have told us that they are going to pour gasoline on us and are going to light fire to the house and burn us all alive, including the underage children”, said the representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Holguin, Berta Guerrero Segura, in reference to the mobs organized by State Security and the political police, which are made up by agents of the mentioned military groups and of other government entities.  These same mobs surrounded her home and carried out an act of repudiation during half of Thursday, October 4th and the majority of Friday, October 5th.

The Ladies in White in this Eastern province have been receiving threats and arrests not only on Sundays when they try to assist Catholic Mass, but daily, when they try to buy food or other products in the local market, when they try to carry out meetings to talk about personal issues or when they try to visit relatives or other activists, whether it be within the same province of Holguin or other regions.

The person usually leading and organizing these actions is State Security agent Rafael Chapman”, detailed Guerrero Segura, “and they have been cutting our phone lines… many of us are being arrested, while we can’t confirm the fate of others because our phones don’t work”.

The police operations against these women on Friday the 5th consisted in a mob made up by various uniformed soldiers surrounding Guerrero’s home, as well as two police vehicles stationed outside, keeping a tight vigilance and impeding any other woman or activist from coming close to the headquarters of the group in that province, located in the 26th of July neighborhood.

In regards to the threats that they would be burned alive, Berta Guerrero does not doubt for a second that the agents would actually turn to that, considering that they have been excessively violent in the past, like when they raided the home of Lady in White Glisedis Pina Gonzalez (also in Holguin) this past 18th of August 2012, where they beat all those inside, including some underage children who were also injured with incoming rocks being hurled at them by the government mobs.  The regime agents have also been frequently arresting the elderly aged Lady in White Rosaida Gonzalez Escalona, despite her frail health.  They have also mercilessly beaten other members of the group to the point of unconsciousness or heavy bruises.  Harassments are also common.

In one particular case, one of these Ladies in White, 22 year old Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo, recounts that she was arrested upon trying to arrive to the national headquarters of the group in Havana this past 23rd of September to celebrate the day of the Virgin of Mercy.  The young activist explained that she was confined, along with other women, to the Havana police unit known as “El Vivac” and they were then deported towards Holguin.

When they had us en route to Holguin, in a police unit of Ciego de Avila, they actually gave us food- and good food- something which never happens in the dungeons.  I was confused by this but then I noticed they were recording us.  Their tactic was to record us eating good, to say that we were never treated bad, that they take care of us”, said Villamonte.

She added that “when we finally arrived to Holguin on Tuesday the 25th, Douglas, the chief of Confrontation, gave orders to lock us up in cells.  They put me in a dungeon with a camera pointing right at me, and a Ministry of the Interior official told me that I was being accused of ‘attempting against the government’ and that I should mentally prepare myself because long days were coming up ahead, seeing as I would be sentenced, according to him”.

Eleiny was moved to another unit in the same province, where another unidentified official (also with a MININT uniform) told her that he was going to lock her up with a common prisoner “who had swallowed a barbed wire, to test if I really was not afraid”.  In fact, he told her that “I was his woman for that day”.

Another Lady in White which accompanied her- Danay Mendiola- was told by the same official that “he was going to tear off her pants and underwear to see if she really was tough and did not have fear”.

These threats of sexual violation are common against women who simply try to march throughout the streets of Cuba dressed in white, with the mission of assisting Mass in their respective churches to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners throughout the island.

Similarly, in the same province but in the municipality of Velasco, the Lady in White Mariblanca Avila Exposito denounces that she too lives under a constant “state of harassment”, as she is always being watched and kept from leaving her own home.

In addition, her son Yonart Rodriguez Avila- an activist from the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy- and his wife Yisela Lorenzo Matos are constantly persecuted as well by political police agents.  They are often detained without explanations, as occurred this past 1st of October when the three of them were waiting to board a bus in Velasco and were detained for a number of hours.

After that arrest, they told us that we could not move freely and that we also couldn’t leave our home or the municipality of Velasco”, said Yonart Rodriguez, who adds that in the park adjacent to his house, there are always soldiers stationed there, keeping a watch over each and every one of his movements.

For more information from Cuba:

Berta Guerrero Segura – Cell Phone: +5353-632-110 //  Zuleidis Perez Velázquez – Cell Phone: +5358-244-778 // Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo- Cell Phone: +5352-393

Lady in White’s Harrowing Testimony After House Raid and Arrest in Holguin

21 year old Lady in White Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo was one of the women present at the home of Glisedis Pina Gonzalez in Holguin this past Saturday 18th of August and one of the ones who was beaten and arrested when the political police raided the house, where the women were participating in their monthly encounter. She was released on the night of Monday, August 20th. Villamonte Cardozo offered this blog a testimony of what she lived through:

“On this past Saturday, the 18th, we were in the monthly meeting we Ladies in White carry out each 18th day of the month. We were already finishing the event. In fact, we were getting ready to leave to our homes when we took a look outside and we saw the mobs in front of the house. We saw the women of the mobs shouting horrible insults at us- they were words which women should not say.

We sat down inside the house and said ‘let’s just wait until everything passes’. But things did not stop there. They were not calm with just that, seeing as we were ignoring them. They started to shout louder at us, and two women approached the house and put up two signs in front- one which said ‘Long Live Fidel’ and the other ‘Long Live Raul’, and they left. Later, a State Security agent approached the house and ordered to see the owner of the home, Glisedis, and gave her a physical blow on her shoulder, telling her to calm her mobs down because the communist mobs are stronger than ‘dissident mobs’.

That agent left and the mobs continued to shout at us. But they were not calm with just that, so they started to throw rocks at us and fire water at us from a fire-hose to try and drown us. They told us “dirty-feet”, “dirty women”, and many other nasty things. As they threw rocks at us they hit the grandson of Ana Mara Aguilera Paneque who is only 4 years old, they hit him on his little stomach and knee. Berta Guerrero was hit on the foot with a rock. Another rock hit Romelia on her breast. It wasn’t one or two rocks, their were hundreds of rocks being thrown at us to try and kill us. And they continued firing water at us and shouted “clean your feet, dirty women” and other things like that.

Afterward, another State Security agent approached and said that he was going to get a search warrant to search the house. He left, but the mobs remained, screaming at us, and we remained calm inside the house. Another official, with a brown uniform with two stars on it, arrived. I don’t know his name, but he is a lieutenant colonel. He ordered to see the owner of the house because he was going to carry out a search. But the owner was in the bathroom at that moment, and the agent was so impatient that he barged in, grabbed Berta Guerrero (who was carrying her daughter) and nearly knocked her down, but Berta managed to get away from his grip. That’s when numerous men ran in and began to hit us, and they even took one underage girl (the daughter of Romelia). They were hitting us, and with these physical blows they took us out of the house.

They applied a headlock on me and took me out to the street. When I was on the street, they pushed me towards the mob of women who started to scratch me everywhere, they hit me all over, and they pulled my hair. In fact, I’m still scratched up on my chest and my arm. All the women came up to me to hit me. After they had beaten me, one guard said ‘you can’t hit her’, but she said this after they had beaten me up, after they had pulled my hair, after all the punches. It was very violent.

They shoved me into a police vehicle. Then, the vehicle would accelerate and suddenly brake so that I would go forward and hit my head against the glass dividing the seats. They took us to the Instructional Penal Unit, where they told me that I would be processed without a trial and that I’d go straight to prison for ‘public disorder’, to which I responded that I had neither carried out a public disorder nor a crime to be there like a criminal. My choice was to not eat any food that they gave me as a safety measure for my life, because I feared that they would poison me, kill me or slip pills into my food. I didn’t eat until today, and I felt very weak. They were very aggressive with us.

I was kept alone in the cell. But I know that Rosa Maria Naranjo Nieves (Lady in White) had been with very high blood pressure since Saturday that wouldn’t go down. Berta Guerrero had very low blood pressure. As a form of torture, they put a fan in front of us with a loud noise to try and torment us, as well as a constant leak in the cell. It was done in order to psychologically affect us but they did not achieve it.

On Saturday, I only drank some water they gave us which was boiled and very hot.

They went to the house that day with the mission to hit us. They broke one of Danay Mendiola’s elbows. They hit us all. They forcibly took us out of the house, everything happened so fast. Everyone saw how they treated us with such cruelty, with the intention to kill us if it was necessary.

I want to tell the world to keep a close watch over Cuba, because everyday the regime is unleashing a stronger wave of aggression against us, and they are willing to kill us. The oppression against the Ladies in White is increasing each day. Every Sunday it’s the same war, and from what I have just witnessed they are willing to do anything to maintain themselves in power.

We are going to continue in this struggle. I am always going to be in this fight even if it means they’ll kill me.

But please, keep your eyes on Cuba, because the oppression is escalating”.

- Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo
August 20th, 2012
Holguin, Cuba

Two Ladies in White being dragged and arrested in 2010.

State Police Raid Home of Lady in White, Fire Water, Beat, and Arrest All Those Inside

In the Eastern city of Holguin, a group of approximately 14 Ladies in White were participating in a monthly encounter in the home of Glisedis Piña Gonzalez (member of the women’s activist group) this Saturday, August 18th, when the house was raided by combined forces of the political police and State Security and all those inside- mostly women and children- were beaten and arrested.

Zuleidis Pérez Velázquez, a Lady in White from that same city of Holguin, could not assist the meeting (due to a personal illness) but shared details of the brutality.

Very horrible violations have occurred”, said Velazquez, “at around 4:30 PM, paramilitary mobs carried out an act of repudiation against the women, shouting insults and throwing rocks at them”.

In addition to throwing rocks to the activists, the mobs fired water at them, according to reports by Berta Soler and Yuri Miguel Carralero  to the “Háblalo sin Miedo” voice recording service.

It was during this repudiation that the police forces raided the home. “They violently searched the entire house, and all those women inside were beat all the way out and then arrested, and taken to police units.  Along with the women, they also detained about 5 or 6 men (…) and also arrested 5 under age children who were also taken to police units”, detailed Perez Velazquez.

Among the male detainees was independent journalist Alexei Jimenez who also managed to phone  ‘Hablalo sin Miedo’ (which translated into English literally means ‘Speak Without Fear’) where he explained that the agents attacked him with sticks on the head and ribs.  “It is obvious that the people who were there doing that to us were police officers dressed in civilian clothing, not enraged everyday people.  They were mobs organized by State Security agents“, assured Jimenez, referring to a common tactic applied by Cuba’s communist police apparatus to make it seem that everyday citizens are the ones attacking dissidents.  Jimenez is frequently beaten and arrested each Sunday when he tries to accompany the Ladies in White to church in Holguin.

In the case of the women, among the detainees were Romelia Piña González, Glisedis Piña González, Berta Guerrero Segura, Eleini Villamonte Cardozo, Danay Mendiola, Rosa María Naranjo Nieves, Lisbeth Peña Hernández, Nelda Molina Leyva, Barbara Bouza and Ana María Aguilera Paneque.

The children who were detained were released during night hours, along with Ana Maria Aguilera Paneque (the only Lady in White released as of August 18th 2012).  The children were sons and daughters of Ladies in White and activists.

Zuleidis Perez managed to establish communication with the 14 year old daughter of Romelia Piña Gonzalez once she arrived home.  The minor was very nervous and, amid her fear, was only able to share some details with Zuleidis about what had happened in that house (her aunt’s home).

Other arrests of Ladies in White took place on that same morning in the same province of Holguin in the municipalities of Banes and Cacocum, when various women tried to travel to the city of Holguin to participate in the meeting.  These detainees were Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez and Miladis Piñales Rosa in Banes, and Marlenis Abreu Almaguer in Cacocum.  These three were released at around 6 PM.

A wave of escalating violence has been occurring throughout the island against human rights activists, among them many Ladies in White.  These actions are being accompanied, in most cases, by home raids and brutal beatings.  One other recent example is that of Lady in White Mildred Noemi Sanchez, from the municipality of Antilla, who had her home raided by police forces, was beat violently in front of her family, and arrested for more than 96 hours this past 13th of August.  State police said they were searching for “enemy propaganda” in her house- a common term for any written or audio-visual materials which deal with the defense of human rights.

Meanwhile, the “Hablemos Press” independent news agency, with its headquarters in Havana, recently released a report in which they detailed that in the first 14 days of August more than 200 arrests of peaceful dissidents have occurred, while between the 10th and 14th, more than 20 home raids took place.

As for the detained women, Zuleidis Perez expressed: “[As of August 18th] we do not know of their whereabouts, so we are declaring them disappeared and we fear for their lives.  If the police was capable of breaking into the home, beating them, and breaking furniture and other objects, then we should not doubt for a second that they are very capable of killing or disappearing them”.

(Listen to Zuleidis’ audio- In Spanish):

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Perez Velazquez – Cell Phone: +5358-244-778

Group of Ladies in White Defy their Oppressors in Holguin, Carry out Successful March

This past Sunday August 12th 2012, 9 Ladies in White in the city of Holguin did not let their violent arrests at the hands of political police and State Security agents keep them from carrying out their habitual Sunday march towards the local Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Catholic Church.

Zuleidis Perez Velazquez, member of the women’s group and resident of Holguin, was one of the 14 detainees taken into custody in a “very violent” manner.  She adds that they were all “distributed throughout the province of Holguin, to different National Revolutionary Police Units, as if we were some sort of baggage.  It was not until 12 PM that we were taken out of the units in cop cars, State Security vehicles, and buses.  We were left in different points of Holguin, from 4 to 10 kilometers away from our homes“.

The rest of the detainees were Berta Guerrero Segura, Yoandra Garrido Silva, Mayra Silva, Mayra Rosa Rodríguez Silva, Romelia Pina González, Barbara Bauza, Marlenis Abreu Almaguer, Nelda Molina Leyva, Lidia Hernández Pérez, Rosa María Naranjo Nieves, Danay Mendiola, Glisedis Pina González, Eleney Villamonte Cardozo and Noemi Hidalgo Gómez.

Their were reports of arrests of three other male dissidents, Alexei Jiménez, Rolando Sánchez Duran and Luis Miguel Carralero, who also try to assist Mass each Sunday “because they are Catholics and members of the Church, and also morally show their support for us, the Ladies in White.  Police agents have been arresting them each Sunday when they try to leave their homes, and they are usually taken to different and undisclosed locations“.

On the day before- Saturday August 11th- Perez Velazquez denounced that there were other arrests in Holguin:  Marcos Limas Dalmao (husband of Adisnidia Cruz Segreo), Luis Manuel Gonzalez and Antonio Pupo Caballero.

However, Zuleidis explained that two women-  Lisbeth Peña  Hernández and Liliana Campo- managed to make it inside the church in Holguin, where they participated in Mass and then marched with their white clothes and flowers.  As soon as the other 14 women were released, 9 of them were able to carry out their march successfully, defying the repressive forces.

Despite all these setbacks, 9 of us Ladies in White were able to meet up after they released us, at around 1 pm, and managed to carry out our peaceful march on the same street where the church is located“, said Perez Velazquez,  “this was something that our oppressors were not expecting, but we achieved it.  They must be infuriated, but so they and the rest of the world know: we are not going to stop.  Regardless of the detentions, the repression, and the beatings we are subjected to each and every Sunday, we are not going to stop.  We are not taking steps back in this peaceful struggle“.

For more information from Cuba:

Zuleidis Pérez Velázquez- Cell Phone: +5358- 244- 778

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