Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba and other provinces were the scene of more police violence against the Ladies in White and other dissidents when they assisted Mass this Sunday, August 25th. This repression has been consecutive for more than one month.
At around 8 AM, former political prisoner Ivan Hernández Carrillo used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to provide details of what was happening in the city of Colon and other regions.
Hernandez confirmed that 7 Ladies in White managed to participate in Mass in the city of Cardenas but they “were arrested” upon stepping out of the church. The detainees were Mercedes de la Guardia Hernández, Yamila Sendra Ruiz, Margarita Cienfuegos Acosta, Odalys Hernández Hernández, Katiuska Rodríguez Vives, Marisol Fernández Socorro and the representative of the group in the province, Leticia Ramos Herreria.
Another 2 women - Esmeralda García Wong and Amada Herrería Rodríguez – were arrested in the same city before making it to Mass.
All the previously mentioned women were beat by political police agents during the moment of their arrests.
Dissident Francisco Rangel Manzano was arrested in Colon, while renown opposition leader and former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta was arrested in Pedro Betancourt. Hernandez Carrillo also confirmed the arrests of activists in the town of Los Arabos, including José Hernández López, William Acevedo Roque and Yudaimis Fernández Martínez.
Ivan added in another Twitter message that, for the first time in more than one month, he was able to surpass police cordons and participate in Mass alongside 8 Ladies in White in Colon. However, he informed that there were “Suzuki motorcycles of the political police” stationed outside the church, as well as various agents dressed in civilian clothing, among them Orestes, known for carrying out violent actions against locals. There was also the “presence of regime collaborators inside the church” watching the activists.
During the Mass in Colon, Father Santana prayed for the dissidents, pointing out that the Day of the Virgin of Charity was nearing and that he was asking the Patron Saint of Cuba to “end all the hostilities, and that people who think one way can express their ideas and manifest them”. Despite the solidarity during the Mass, however, State police agents arrested all the Ladies in White when they stepped out of the church: Lazara Rodríguez, Yanelis Pérez Reyes, María Teresa Castellano Valido, Maritza Acosta Perdomo, Sayli Navarro and Asunción Carillo (the latter is Ivan Hernandez’s mother).
These arrests consisted in pushing, headlocks, and pulling hair, according to Hernandez. All the detainees were abandoned in desolate camps, far from their homes. This was the case of Angel Moya, who later told Ivan that “what these henchmen do to us gives us more strength each day”.
After all the violent measures taken by the police, there were at least 24 Ladies in White and other dissidents who had been arrested in the province of Matanzas. Despite the orders of the dictatorship to lash out against the opposition movement on the island, the Ladies in White took to the streets in all of Cuba, demanding freedom and rights.
Messages sent out by @ivanlibre highlighted that in Gibara, 7 Ladies in White arrived to Mass. Unfortunately, the priest expelled them from the church afterward, forcing them to face the violent mobs. The women were violently beat and detained.
In Cuba’s capital – Havana – 82 women marched with flowers and participated in Mass, while 7 managed to do so in the province of Villa Clara. 3 Ladies in White made it to church in Ciego de Avila, 22 in the Eastern province of Holguin and 10 in Guantanamo.
According to the Twitter account of independent news agency Hablemos Press (@HablemosPress), more than 50 Ladies in White participated in Sunday Mas but they were later brutally beat by police agents on 5th Street. They were shoved into cars and buses.
The agency later tweeted that they had documented more than 65 arrests of Ladies in White in all the island.
Despite the violence, the Ladies in White and the Cuban opposition in general have left it clear that they will continue on the streets not only demanding their rights, but also the rights of the entire nation.
Thanks to Twitter, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo was able to publish various photos of the what happened on Sunday the 25th.
Meanwhile, Ivan also published photos of repressors and the vehicles they used during the violent operations in Colon, Matanzas: