“I want to let the world know about the situation we Ladies in White are going through in the province of Holguin, Sunday after Sunday“, said Berta Guerrero Segura, representative of the women’s group in the mentioned province, highlighting that each weekend the women are arrested by the political police in order to impede them from assisting Sunday Mass to pray for the freedom of all political prisoners.
Guerrero explains that since 2012 the Jesus Christ Redeemer of Men Church, located in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood in the city of Holguin, “has been surrounded and under the surveillance of police officials on all four corners“. These same agents arrest the women whenever they get near the temple, that’s if they even manage to make it out of their homes as these are constantly surrounded as well.
The persecution has expanded to the point that the Second Chief of Confrontation in the area, Yordanis Martinez Leon, has told Berta Guerrero and the rest of the women that “if they want to go to church they will have to buy a helicopter to drop them off inside because he is not going to allow them“.
Due to the constant arrests, a number of Ladies in White from Holguin try to assist Mass in another local church- the Cathedral of San Isidoro. The vigilance is just the same there lately.
For instance, this Sunday 5th of May, only 3 women made it inside the San Isidoro Church and only 2 at Jesus Christ the Redeemer. In the municipality of Cacocum another 2 Ladies marched and participated in Mass. A total of 8 women were arrested.
“Yesterday, May 5th, a police agent went inside The Redeemer Church and told the religious authorities that the Ladies in White were provoking public disorder. A number of other agents entered the church after that“, recounted Guerrero. “The two women who made it inside were mistreated by a woman who calls herself Eva and says to work in the church“.
“On past Sundays the police has invaded the church, even offending Father Aldama on a number of occasions. We have presented our complaints to the archbishop and the church in general but up to now we have not received a single response“.
Guerrero adds that during the Mass there are State Security agents keeping tight vigilance over the women, photographing the few who manage to make it inside.
When the women are arrested they are abandoned in desolate areas, far from their homes, such as the dumpster or near a cemetery. Many are threatened with death, as the recent cases of Bárbara Bauza Drigg and Ana María Aguilera Paneque.
“On May 5th, State Security agents not only arrested Barbara Bauza and Ana Maria Aguilera, but they also threatened them with death. They told them that they would kill them and leave them, once and for all, inside the cemetery because they were giving them too much trouble“, denounced Berta Guerrero. The women were not able to identify the aggressor because he did not provide a name or badge number.
In 2012 Lady in White and Holguin native Caridad Caballero Batista (now in exile) could only assist Mass a total of 2 times. She was violently arrested on each attempt every Sunday. The same repression has continued throughout the entire province against these women who, despite the threats, keep marching, refusing to accept their homes as prison cells.
“I am denouncing this regime run by the Castro brothers, for what may happen to any of us“, said Berta Guerrero.
Despite State violence, a total of 143 Ladies in White made it to Mass throughout the country, according to a report by the independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press’. The female activists dedicated the march to detained hunger striker Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza and in solidarity with the more than 60 activists on hunger strike to demand his freedom.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Berta Guerrero Segura- Cell Phone: +53-632-110