(October 21st, 2011)- Exactly one week after the death of Laura Pollan, dozens of candles lit the Miam night sky during a vigil held in memory of the fallen leader of the Ladies in White. The solidarity event was also a condemnation of the constant violence which Cuban women have been facing as they defend the inalienable rights of all Cubans out on the streets of the island, as they march dressed in white and with gladiolus flowers at hand. It also denounced and aimed to raise awareness of the suspicious death of Laura Pollan. Those who assisted the activity raised their flowers to the sky, praying for the soul of the peaceful fighter.
Exiled Cuban women, in representation of numerous groups which fight for the freedom of Cuba, lifted their voices to remember Laura and to share words of comfort, pain, and overall, hope. Among those women present who publicly spoke were Sylvia Iriondo, president of MAR por Cuba, Janisset Rivero of the Cuban Democratic Directorate, the ex political prisoner for 16 years Cari Roque, the journalist Ninoska Perez Castellon, and the activist who represents the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights in exile, Berta Antunez. Contact was also made with women inside the island- Lady in White Berta Soler and the distinguished and always active dissident Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo. In the public, one could spot out faces of ex political prisoners, of diverse generations, as well as exiled Ladies in White.
The event carried on into the night with prayers, moments of silence, the notes of the Cuban national anthem, shouts of ‘Laura Lives’, and photos and quotes of Pollan flashing on a large mounted television screen.
It is true that Laura Pollan is no longer physically with us, but what she helped build- that group of fearless women who, with their flowers challenge a regime which consists of weapons and dungeons- will not cease. Although the oppressors cover the island with a dark cloak, the Ladies in White, and the countless members of the Cuban resistance, have become bright lights which pierce through and shatter the darkness, inspiring others to fight for a free nation and a better life. Laura was one of those shining lights, and as Ninoska Castellon declared during the vigil, “That scream of freedom which has been your death will give us strength to continue onward. Rest in peace, sister, for you now walk among angels with white flowers in your hands“.
The crowd chants “Laura” and “Laura Lives”
Singing the Cuban national anthem