For the first time since the death of Laura Pollan, the Ladies in White decided to continue the tradition of their weekly literary meetings in the headquarters of the group, the very home of Laura in Havana, this Tuesday October 18th. But the functionaries of the Cuban regime also decided to continue their accustomed acts of violence and impediments, unleashing an aggressive operation with the intent of not allowing the women dressed in white to carry out a peaceful event such as this reunion. The prominent dissident Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, who recently suffered a 2 week long arrest and a brutal beating, was once again victim of state-sponsored violence, suffering a detainment on that very morning.
Fonseca narrates that she set out from her home to the gathering at around 9 in the morning, right after having had breakfast, when she was quickly arrested. “I felt very bad- besides the obvious, being in mourning over Laura Pollan’s death, which the dictatorship did not respect at all, I had also just eaten and such an aggressive arrest led me to start vomiting constantly throughout the day“. According to Sara, this operation was set in motion in order “to impede the Ladies in White from reorganizing after the death of Laura“, adding that she and all the other women arrested and harassed on that day were constantly threatened. “The agents told us that they will not allow us to continue to take to the streets- the same discourse as always. However, it seems then that we will continue to get arrested because we are not going to stop carrying out our activities . We are going to continue demanding the freedom of not only every single political prisoner but of the entire Cuban nation“.
Sara Marta was released at around 6 PM of the same day. “On the next day (Wednesday the 19th) I awoke with more vomiting, but throughout the day I started to feel better, although I am still very frustrated about everything that has been happening“, referring to the death of Pollan and the constant violence against the internal resistance of the island. Despite the police operation, Fonseca states that 19 women were able to participate in the reunion which “of course, was very difficult considering that it was the first gathering of the sort without Laura“.
The dissident adds that one of the many threats during her arrest was “once again, that I could not hold any more meetings with opposition members“, in an allusion to the fact that her house is constantly being used as a meeting point for opponents of the dictatorship. There, the resistance frequently holds conferences, organizes future events, and carries out public protests. “Now, right before my release, they told me that they were not going to allow me to be out on the streets past 10 PM, and that it was strictly prohibited for me to leave the province of Havana“. Fonseca’s response reflected her determination and lack of fear: “Honestly, all these things that they tell me I listen to because I refuse to waste time on arguing with them, but I am in no way going to follow any of their orders“.
On the following day, Fonseca and other activists of the the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba held a vigil “for the immediate and total freedom, without exile, for all political prisoners” in her house, defying the orders of the tyranny. “My husband and I will continue organizing these same activities, and if we have to travel out of the province, we will do it, and they can do anything they want with us, really, but we are going to continue our struggle the same way as always“.