21 year old Lady in White Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo was one of the women present at the home of Glisedis Pina Gonzalez in Holguin this past Saturday 18th of August and one of the ones who was beaten and arrested when the political police raided the house, where the women were participating in their monthly encounter. She was released on the night of Monday, August 20th. Villamonte Cardozo offered this blog a testimony of what she lived through:
“On this past Saturday, the 18th, we were in the monthly meeting we Ladies in White carry out each 18th day of the month. We were already finishing the event. In fact, we were getting ready to leave to our homes when we took a look outside and we saw the mobs in front of the house. We saw the women of the mobs shouting horrible insults at us- they were words which women should not say.
We sat down inside the house and said ‘let’s just wait until everything passes’. But things did not stop there. They were not calm with just that, seeing as we were ignoring them. They started to shout louder at us, and two women approached the house and put up two signs in front- one which said ‘Long Live Fidel’ and the other ‘Long Live Raul’, and they left. Later, a State Security agent approached the house and ordered to see the owner of the home, Glisedis, and gave her a physical blow on her shoulder, telling her to calm her mobs down because the communist mobs are stronger than ‘dissident mobs’.
That agent left and the mobs continued to shout at us. But they were not calm with just that, so they started to throw rocks at us and fire water at us from a fire-hose to try and drown us. They told us “dirty-feet”, “dirty women”, and many other nasty things. As they threw rocks at us they hit the grandson of Ana Mara Aguilera Paneque who is only 4 years old, they hit him on his little stomach and knee. Berta Guerrero was hit on the foot with a rock. Another rock hit Romelia on her breast. It wasn’t one or two rocks, their were hundreds of rocks being thrown at us to try and kill us. And they continued firing water at us and shouted “clean your feet, dirty women” and other things like that.
Afterward, another State Security agent approached and said that he was going to get a search warrant to search the house. He left, but the mobs remained, screaming at us, and we remained calm inside the house. Another official, with a brown uniform with two stars on it, arrived. I don’t know his name, but he is a lieutenant colonel. He ordered to see the owner of the house because he was going to carry out a search. But the owner was in the bathroom at that moment, and the agent was so impatient that he barged in, grabbed Berta Guerrero (who was carrying her daughter) and nearly knocked her down, but Berta managed to get away from his grip. That’s when numerous men ran in and began to hit us, and they even took one underage girl (the daughter of Romelia). They were hitting us, and with these physical blows they took us out of the house.
They applied a headlock on me and took me out to the street. When I was on the street, they pushed me towards the mob of women who started to scratch me everywhere, they hit me all over, and they pulled my hair. In fact, I’m still scratched up on my chest and my arm. All the women came up to me to hit me. After they had beaten me, one guard said ‘you can’t hit her’, but she said this after they had beaten me up, after they had pulled my hair, after all the punches. It was very violent.
They shoved me into a police vehicle. Then, the vehicle would accelerate and suddenly brake so that I would go forward and hit my head against the glass dividing the seats. They took us to the Instructional Penal Unit, where they told me that I would be processed without a trial and that I’d go straight to prison for ‘public disorder’, to which I responded that I had neither carried out a public disorder nor a crime to be there like a criminal. My choice was to not eat any food that they gave me as a safety measure for my life, because I feared that they would poison me, kill me or slip pills into my food. I didn’t eat until today, and I felt very weak. They were very aggressive with us.
I was kept alone in the cell. But I know that Rosa Maria Naranjo Nieves (Lady in White) had been with very high blood pressure since Saturday that wouldn’t go down. Berta Guerrero had very low blood pressure. As a form of torture, they put a fan in front of us with a loud noise to try and torment us, as well as a constant leak in the cell. It was done in order to psychologically affect us but they did not achieve it.
On Saturday, I only drank some water they gave us which was boiled and very hot.
They went to the house that day with the mission to hit us. They broke one of Danay Mendiola’s elbows. They hit us all. They forcibly took us out of the house, everything happened so fast. Everyone saw how they treated us with such cruelty, with the intention to kill us if it was necessary.
I want to tell the world to keep a close watch over Cuba, because everyday the regime is unleashing a stronger wave of aggression against us, and they are willing to kill us. The oppression against the Ladies in White is increasing each day. Every Sunday it’s the same war, and from what I have just witnessed they are willing to do anything to maintain themselves in power.
We are going to continue in this struggle. I am always going to be in this fight even if it means they’ll kill me.
But please, keep your eyes on Cuba, because the oppression is escalating”.
– Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo
August 20th, 2012