Ladies in White Under Constant Persecution, Surveillance for Going to Church During Holy Week

Marta Diaz Rondon

From the municipality of Banes, in the province of Holguin, Marta Diaz Rondon– active Lady in White and vice-president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights– has denounced to this blog that her home, as well as that of the also Lady in White, Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, continued to be under “constant vigilance by Cuban State Security 24 hours a day” this week.

This past Sunday, April 1st– Palm Sunday for devout Catholics- Rondon explained that she and Ojeda noticed that the police operations throughout the town of Banes would not allow them to travel to the city of Holguin where they intended to march to church together with other Ladies in White- Caridad Caballero Batista and Isabel Pena Torres among them.  Because of this, both women decided instead to attend Sunday mass in the local church in Banes, the Church of Our Lady of Charity.  Although these two activists were actually able to attend mass this time, Rondon said that “we were persecuted and under the constant watch of two State Security agents all the way to the church”.  The two persecutors were agents Evelio and Asmany.

The agents walked behind us, just watching us.  When we went into the church, they stayed outside in the park adjacent to the church, waiting for us”,  denounced Diaz Rondon.  When both Ladies in White left mass at around 11 AM, agents Evelio and Asmany followed them all the way to their homes, but not without offending them first.  “Evelio started to try and provoke us“, narrated Marta, “he was taunting me.  He asked me why I was carrying a cross made of palm and then he told me, ‘Marta, did you go to the Pope’s Mass in Santiago de Cuba?‘”.  According to the activist, “agent Evelio knew very well that I was imprisoned during the Pope’s visit, and it was just a taunt against me“.

In addition, Evelio told Rondon that she was “going to burn in the cauldrons of hell“, to which she responded that “his statement were hypocritical…  [the regime] are not even believers and they tried to give off another image with the Pope.  Here in Cuba, the Castro brothers exiled countless priests, nuns, and any other person who believed in God“.

Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez, in front of her home with her children

Although Gertrudis and Marta were able to arrive back to their homes without being arrested, on the following day- Monday- the vigilance continued.  However, this Tuesday, April 3rd, the police operation was the largest so far this week.  Diaz explained, “On Tuesday, in my house we awoke to a very large surveillance operation.  There were police vehicles and police agents outside of my house.  There were even State Security agents in my porch.  I stepped outside on the phone and agent Freddy, of State Security, was there with his motorcycle.  He told me that I could not leave my house“.

As she has done before, the Lady in White denounced that “there is constant surveillance over us“, meaning herself, her family, and all dissidents in Banes.  “We live under constant vigilance“, affirms that human rights activist.

However, Diaz assured that “despite the vigilance, we are not intimidated, nor are we the least bit fearful.  We know very well who they, the oppressors, are.  We know that we are confronting a dictatorship and that they are capable of doing anything against us.  But we are not afraid, and we will continue going to Church and taking to the streets, because the streets of Cuba belong to the Cuban people“.

For more information from Cuba:

Marta Diaz Rondon – Cell Phone: +5352-771-639 // Twitter: @MartaDiazRondon

Ladies in White Under Constant Persecution, Surveillance for Going to Church During Holy Week

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