After four weekends of unmeasurable violence against the Ladies in White and other dissidents in the cities of Cardenas and Colon in the province of Matanzas, Berta Soler – leader of the Ladies in White – traveled to Cardenas this Sunday, August 11th, to march together with the women being repressed, demanding freedom for all political prisoners. The result was the fifth weekend of violence.
11 women managed to march and assist Mass at The Parish of Cardenas. When the religious service came to an end, the Ladies left the temple in a march back home.
Leticia Ramos Herrería, representative of the women’s group for the province of Matanzas, said that a State Security official intercepted them and told them that they could not continue walking, all while the same mobs as always – organized by the regime – surrounded the women.
“We remained in silence while the mobs shouted insults at us“, said Ramos Herreria, “then, the official told me that we were going to be arrested but without being beat. It was all the contrary“.
Ramos recounts that all the women were beat and thrown inside police vehicles, among them Berta Soler and Maria Cristina Labrada, from Havana. Some were taken to the National Revolutionary Police unit while others were left out in the Port of Cardenas.
Leticia explains that although she was also beat, in this case she was not the worst off. “I want to shed light on the situation of Mercedes de la Caridad la Guardia who the agents, in addition to being beat, threw paint on her, later detained her in the PNR unit and then abandoned her 40 kilometers away from the city. She was grabbed by the arm by PNR agent Yordan (badge #33500) and agent Yudy (the same woman who has beat us during past weekends and who threatened to shoot me in the forehead recently). They punched her on her neck, face, abdomen, etc“.
Another worrying case was that of Elizabeth Pacheco Lama, a 23 year old Lady in White. At the time of her arrest she was “injected on the head with different needles. They dragged her, beat her, and even destroyed her shoes“, said Leticia.
Despite the State-sponsored violence, Leticia Ramos considers that one of the most significant factors that day was the fact that a number of everyday people showed solidarity with the persecuted women and, because of this, they also suffered violence at the hands of the police.
“I want to thank many of the people of Cardenas who protected us. The police pushed many of them against a wall, they beat them and many of them were shoved into police cars“, said the Matanzas dissident.
Meanwhile, in the city of Colon the violence was similar. Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, former political prisoner and independent unionist, used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to detail that he was arrested upon stepping out of his home in the morning.
“After the violent arrest, dragging me threw the street and pushing me into a police vehicle, they abandoned me out on kilometer 170 on the national highway”, wrote the renown dissident.
Ivan’s mother, Asuncion Carillo Hernandez (an elderly lady) was also arrested and they “left her out 1 kilometer after the exit of Colon, en route to San Jose”.
Ivan also tweeted about the case of Lady in White Maritza Perdomo, another woman who was harassed and arrested, kept in an unknown location for a while.
Hernandez Carrillo added that the police officials handcuffed him and twisted his arms back to the point that they cut his circulation in order to impede him from making the “L” shape with his hands (‘L’ for “Libertad”, Spanish for “Freedom”, a sign commonly used by Cuba’s opposition).
Renown dissident and former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta was also arrested that Sunday, among other human rights activists.
9 Ladies in White were able to make it to Mass in Colon, despite that many of them were later arrested and repressed.
Dissident Lazaro Diaz Sanchez published a photo on his Twitter account (@LazaroDiazSanch) of an injury he sustained after physical attacks by the political police approximately 3 weeks ago:
“We blame the political police, the Castro brothers and their dictatorship for anything that may happen to Elizabeth Pacheco Lama, who was injected on the head. She also has chunks of hair missing because they pulled it, her legs are scratched and she took many physical blows“, expressed Leticia Ramos, “We hold the dictatorship accountable for her physical integrity as well as that of all Ladies in White in Matanzas, and all of Cuba“.