“Today, Sunday July 29th, the Ladies in White here in Holguin have suffered very strong repression“. That is how Zuleidis Perez Velazquez, member of the mentioned movement, expressed herself regarding the situation.
Perez Velazquez had denounced the day prior, Saturday July 28th, that 4 Ladies in White were surrounded in a house located just 4 houses from the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church, where the activists try to march to Sunday after Sunday. This police operation culminated in the arrest of one of the surrounded women- Romelia Piña González– and her husband Arturo Aguilera, at around 5 PM on that same Saturday. Both were released at around 12:30 PM on Sunday.
Counting Romelia Piña González, Zuleidis explained that 11 arrests of Ladies in White occured in Holguin. The detainees were Glisedis Pina González, Adisnidia Cruz Segreo, Marlenis Abreu Alamaguer, Berta Guerrero Segura, Mildred Sánchez Infante, Damaris Ramírez Ballester, Kenia Guerra, Maidelin Guerrero Silva, Yoandra Garrido Silva, María Rosa Rodríguez Silva and Nelda Molina Leyva.
All these women “were arrested upon stepping out of their homes and taken to different units of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), where they were held until after 12 PM. They were then taken on bus and dropped off in desolate areas throughout Holguin, in places which were very far from their homes“.
However, Perez Velazquez pointed out that another 6 women from Holguin were able to surpass repressive political police cordons and make it to Sunday Mass in the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men church. The women in this group were Rosa María Naranjo Nieve, Danay Mendiola, Eleini Villamonte Cardozo, Barbará Bauza, Ania Isabel Martínez Perdomo and Perez herself, who considered that this was a “grand victory” for the women, despite the fact that they remained under police vigilance during and after the Mass.
“Despite this, we managed to carry out our march”, affirmed Zuleidis to this blog.
Meanwhile, a report by ‘Marti Noticias’ cited at least 8 detained Ladies in White in Santiago de Cuba. In the same report, one of the activists from Santiago explained that a group of them had to leave to the Sanctuary of el Cobre since Wednesday in order to make it to Sunday Mass. 11 women made it. 3 Ladies in White were also harassed and detained in the city of Gibara (Holguin), according to the report.
José Daniel Ferrer García, former political prisoner and national coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), explained through an audio published on ‘YouTube’, that 7 women in Guantanamo managed to make it to Mass and denouned that a number of other women throughout Eastern Cuba remained with their homes surrounded. In the case of the women arrested in Gibara, Ferrer Garcia explained that various activists set out to protest to the local police unit where they were being held but these demonstrators- small children among them- were beaten by police officials of the Cuban regime.
According to Ferrer Garcia, other arrests occurred in Palma Soriano. The activist also denounced that a very common method being carried out by the political police against Ladies in White and other human rights activists is that of destroying their cell phones, as has happened with Jacquelin Garcia in Bayamo.
The Twitter account of the Ladies in White (@DamasdBlanco) reported that “39 Ladies in White marched [in Havana] with shirts with the faces of Laura [Pollan] and Oswaldo [Paya], forming two lines”.
This Sunday was one week since dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero lost their lives in Bayamo after an incident which the dictatorship has dismissed as a simple accident, but which the majority of the members of the internal Resistance classify as a “planned assassination”.