Neighbors Chose to Not Cooperate with Mob Attack Against Lady in White

Alejandrina Rivas (left) and Caridad Burunate (right). Ladies in White of Matanzas province.

The home of Lady in White Caridad Burunate Gomez, located in Colon, Matanzas, was the target of a failed mob repudiation attack this past Thursday, January 5th.  Accompanying Caridad were some relatives, among them her husband (and also dissident) Francisco Rangel and also the former political prisoners of the group of the 75, Iván Hernández Carrillo and Félix Navarro.

The Lady in White narrated that she had known there was going to be an act of repudiation against her that day, for her neighbors had informed her that in their jobs they had ben visited by agents of the regime who had told them that it was mandatory to assist the acts of aggression that night at 8:30.  “The agents said that if the workers did not go, then they would be fired from their jobs”, explained Burunate Gomez.  Regardless, the only people who joined in on the verbal violence were “only government officials.  They parked 10 police vehicles nearby and began to shout slogans against us.  But everyday neighbors did not show up“.

In fact, th dissident detailed that the dictatorship’s representatives in that zone of Matanzas brought sound equipment in order to blast “revolutionary” music and also lights to point at the house, but they did not have anywhere to connect the speakers or the light bulbs, seeing as no neighbor wanted to provide their house, constituting an acto of non-cooperation against the dictatorship.  All but one neighbor, that is.

Félix Navarro explained that the neighbors “turned off their lights and closed their doors.  The only ones who lent themselves to the vandalism were Regla and Roberto Gambara, a married couple“.  According to the former prisoner and the Lady in White, the Gambara family has a son living in the United States since he left the island on raft 7 years ago.  “Regla and Roberto  receive money and packages from relatives living outside and have even tried to apply for a visa to leave the country through the US Interest Section in Havana, but they have been denied“, added Navarro, highlighting the double-morals of the couple.

“In fact”, continues the activist, “up to the end of the 90’s, the house in which Roberto and Regla now live, there lived two of Roberto’s sisters- Iris and Teresa Gambara.  They both left Cuba for the United States under the status of political refugees… it’s very ironic that now, that same house is being used to mob acts of repudiation against non-violent dissidents who are leading the struggle against totalitarianism and Castro-ism in Cuba“.

The speakers connected to the home of the Gambara family were used to amplify the voices of communist officials who were screaming obscenities at the dissidents, in addition to playing pro-dictatorial music.  Caridad Burunate denounced that “the agents began to carry out their discourse about the 5 spies, saying that they will soon return.  An agent by the name of Jesus Yanez Barrios stood right in front of my porch and screamed some very obscene words at me.  He also called me a worm, accused us of receiving US money and saying that we had sold out our countries“.

That was when the repudiation act came to a conclusion, at around 9 PM.  “I feel very happy“, assured Burunate, “because we were expecting to be repudiated by a large number of people but no neighbor, save for Regla and Roberto, participated“. The Lady in White continued, “we are very happy for our neighbors.  It’s even more proof that the everyday people, not just the dissidents, do not want this dictatorship and does indeed want change.  This was a defeat for the regime“.

Non-Cooperation is an essential element in struggles against totalitarianism and other corrupt systems, as has been witnessed in diverse parts around the world- today and in the past (from racist South Africa, communist Poland, Tunisia under a dictatorship, and even in the United States during the segregationist period are just a few examples of success).

The Burunate family lives amid constant threats and aggressions

Caridad Burunate and her entire family have been targets of attack on behalf of the Castro tyranny for quite some time now.  They have had to witness acts of repudiation against them in a frequent, almost constant, fashion.  In this link, you can see one of these mob attacks organized by the Cuban regime against this dissident family.

Burunate also denounced that her daughters, whom are still adolescents, have also suffered the repression directly.  “One day, my daughter had to leave the house during a mob repudiation attack when agent Jaime Lopez hit her on the back, pulled her hair, and threw her on the floor“.  Other relatives- like her own brother in law- have been imprisoned due to the dissident posture of the family.

In one instance, which only occurred a few days ago, “we were threatened by the political police and State Security, as they threw pig excrement at the house.  One other morning we awoke to a house full of smashed eggs.  On September 24th, during a pots and pans protest, they threw us huge rocks. They nearly hit my daughter on her head“.

Although this has been occurring with frequency, already during the first days of 2012 we can see an intensification of vigilance and repression in Colon, Matanzas, because numerous anti-government signs have been propping up throughout the city.  “The signs say ‘Change’, ‘Democracy’, and ‘It is time for Cuba’“, explains Burunate, who also points out that the signs have appeared anonymously and have not been put up by a dissident group.

This means that the everyday people want change, not just us public dissidents”, reaffirms the Lady in White Caridad Burunate.


Now Caridad Burunate can be followed on Twitter- @CaridadBurunate. Her husband has also opened his own ccount, Francisco Rangel- @JFRangelCuba.  Each passing day, there are more and more Cubans who, through the solidarity of others, overcome and challenge the censorship imposed by the Cuban dictatorship.  

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