In what was an emotional encounter, 43 Ladies in White managed to carry out their habitual march in Havana this Sunday, 14th of April, not only with the presence of various human rights activists, but also with the participation of recently released independent journalist Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias. The Ladies, in addition to celebrating the victory of Calixto’s liberation, also demanded the release of the many other political prisoners still behind bars in the island.
“When liberated, it is the duty of all political prisoners to come with the Ladies in White and stand with them in their bastion of freedom”, said Martinez Arias in declarations made to former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, published on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre).
Calixto Ramon Martinez was released from prison after more than 7 months behind bars, thanks to the solidarity of people in and out of Cuba who carried out campaigns and public activities to pressure the regime.
The Ladies in White also dedicated their march to Enrique Ros, famous Cuban exiled historian who passed away this week.
Ivan Hernandez tweeted that 16 Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass in the province of Matanzas, while 2 surpassed police cordons in Ciego de Avila and made it to church.
In Guantanamo, 10 Ladies in White marched and participated in Mass.
Meanwhile, in the province of Santiago de Cuba, 32 Ladies in White made it past operations set up by State Security and made it to El Cobre National Shrine. A number of women were reportedly detained between Saturday and Sunday.
Anyer Antonio Blanco, member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), published an audio on his Twitter account (@anyerantoniobla) where his mother, Lady in White, Ana Celia Rodríguez, was being arrested alongside another activist in Santiago. Rodriguez was forcefully taken out of a vehicle and sent to a police unit for various hours.
The Ladies in White have made it very clear that despite that they are being subjected to different forms of repression, they will continue risking it all on the streets to demand freedom for each and every Cuban who resides behind bars for thinking differently.
José Daniel Ferrer, leader of UNPACU, later expressed in his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer) that “with all the brutal repression, and the advantage of media and resources, once again, the Ladies in White surpass the methods of the political police”.