In light of the more than 58 confirmed arrests, deportations and disappearances of Ladies in White during the past weekend of September 21st (and in some cases, before this date), many women suffered threats and/or beatings at the hands of government agents.
The following testimony is just one of the many (more to come) of a Cuban woman who has not allowed the dictatorship to break her spirit with their harassment, vigilance, and their futile effort to paralyze her with fear and lies:
Leticia Ramos Herreria
The arrest of Leticia Ramos Herreria (representative of the Ladies in White in the province of Matanzas) took place on Wednesday, September 19th, when she had arrived to Varadero from Cardenas, her city of residence, en route to Havana. Her husband, Rudel Montes de Oca, was accompanying her on her trip when they were both intercepted while aboard a public bus by political police agents “Kenny”, “Cao”, and two others who did not identify themselves.
These agents rushed towards Ramos Herreria and her husband, shouting at her that “she sold herself for 3 pesos“. To these insults, the Lady in White responded with a protest in the middle of the street, in front of many passer-bys. She screamed “slogans such as ‘down with Fidel’“. Agent Kenny snatched her cell phone and physically assaulted her.
“He scratched my hand and hit me on my back, right where I had suffered a serious injury last March when I was beat by the political police“, explained the dissident, “at that moment, they arrested both of us and threw us in police vehicles, driving us to the police unit of Santa Marta“.
At Santa Marta, the officials also took Leticia’s camera, kept her for an hour and then took her to the police unit of Marti while her husband was taken to the Cienagas de Zapata unit. During this whole time, their families did not receive any information about their whereabouts.
Leticia decided to protest by starting a hunger and thirst strike at the police unit and she continued the protest through Friday the 21st, when she was released at around 3 PM in the city of Cardenas. With a very delicate state of health, Ramos Herreria noticed that her husband had not yet been released so she head to the State Security unit and demanded his release. The pressure she exerted over the officials forced them to release Montes de Oca, who had also been on hunger and thirst strike during his arrest.
On Saturday morning, a strong pain in her arm forced Leticia to try and seek medical attention and she directed herself to the nearest hospital. However, her attempt was frustrated because numerous military agents were surrounding the perimeters of her home. Agent Kenny was once again in charge of this operation. “Kenny intercepted me and told me that I could not go anywhere“, denounced Ramos, “I told him that I was free and that I’ll go wherever I want“. Kenny’s response was to order various police officers to detain the Lady in White once again.
“They took me to the police unit of the Union de Reyes municipality, and there I continued my hunger and thirst strike. On Sunday night, I suffered a diabetic coma due to a hypoglycemia attack (I am diabetic) and they took me out of the unit and put me in an intensive care unit of a local hospital“, detailed Ramos, “they put a serum on me and when I regained my consciousness a State Security agent was talking horrors about fellow dissidents like Antunez, Felix Navarro, Berta Soler and other brothers in struggle. Sincerely, I was not willing to listen to that so I ripped off the serum and told them that if they were going to keep me detained, then to take me back to my cell”.
After this incident, Leticia was in fact returned to her cell, where she was locked away until 8 PM when she was told that she’d be returned to Cardenas. “However, instead of traveling down the route of Pedro Betancourt (the fastest route), they drove by the outskirts of the city of Matanzas, where they slowly drove in front of the women’s prison known as ‘La Bellotes’. I think it was an attempt to try and scare me, but they know very well that I am willing to serve prison time if I must, I’d do it with dignity and pride“.
When the Lady in White arrived to her home, the police operation continued. There were numerous armed officials keeping guard, and many had German Sheppard’s with them.
“Upon entering my home, agents told me that I could not leave anymore, and I simply responded that I am going to recuperate myself, seeing as how I still feel a bit weak because of my hunger strike, but that I was going to continue onward. I will continue to challenge them, and I told them to put lots of gasoline in their cop cars because I am going to keep carrying out dissident activities on the streets of Cuba“.
For more information from Cuba:
Leticia Ramos Herrería – Cell Phone: +5352- 481-807