“Down with police corruption”, “Long Live the Ladies in White”, “Long Live Human Rights”, and “Fair wages” were just some of the slogans shouted by two brave women who carried out a pots-and-pans protest in Havana’s Central Park this Thursday, February 14th (St. Valentine’s Day).
The women were Rosario Morales la Rosa, best known among her friends as “Charito“, and Melkis Faure Echevarría, both Ladies in White. Charito has carried out similar protests in the past, including two famous pots-and-pans protests alongside Ivonne Malleza Galano, also a Lady in White. In both of those previous cases, a crowd of everyday citizens surrounded the women to observe the protest and even to show their support. In the case of this 14th of February, Rosario and Melkis were not repudiated by any citizen, while a significant number of people also crowded around to observe the demonstration.
The protest lasted about 15 minutes, when the women were arbitrarily arrested by the political police. It was confirmed that Melkis was released during the night hours of that same Thursday, but when this video was published- on Friday the 15th- Rosario Morales “Charito” was still detained, her whereabouts unknown.
This week has been particularly violent for the Ladies in White. More than 60 women were aggressively arrested as they paid tribute to Laura Pollan, their fallen leader, on the 13th of February. In the case of Charito, she had already been detained this week and even threatened with death by one police official who pointed a gun to her head. But this did not keep her from carrying out her protest this Thursday.
“Hablemos Press“, an independent news agency stationed in Havana but with reporters throughout the island, published the video on their YouTube channel. According to the agency’s director, Roberto de Jesus Guerra, the images were caught by an everyday citizen who later donated them to “Hablemos Press”. See them for yourselves below: