On Sunday, August 18th, the Cuban regime once again attacked the Ladies in White and various dissidents in the province of Matanzas through arrests, beatings and acts of repudiation. There were also cases of repression in the province of Santiago de Cuba, where paramilitary mobs repudiated and attacked a number of women inside a house. Despite the violence, more than 200 members of the Ladies in White were able to march and arrive at Mass, according to this article published by ‘Marti Noticias’. In this blog, we will publish a series of interviews with various Cubans who have been repressed in these past days but continue expressing their ideas in favor of change and freedom.
Leticia Ramos Herrería is the representative of the Ladies in White for the province of Matanzas. She has been injected with mysterious substances, arrested, persecuted, and threatened with death in the last few weeks, as well as other activists. Here, she speaks about what happened on Saturday August 17th and Sunday August 18th when State agents not only attacked her but also used psychological tactics against her:
Not only were you victim of police repression this Sunday, August 18th along with other Ladies in White, but also on Saturday, the 17th. What was it exactly that happened?
On Saturday, August 17th, I was victim of a kidnapping at the hands of a high official of the National Revolutionary Police and a State Security agent right at the corner of my eldest son’s house. They shoved me into a vehicle.
What happened inside that car?
When we were near the road which connects the city of Cardenas with Varadero, a Lada model vehicle with a blue license plate pulled up in front of us and told us to stop. State Secuirty agent Livan and Captain Kenny Aguero came out of that car. They walked over to the vehicle I was in and tried to take me out and put me in the other car. I broke lose from their grasps and stood out in the middle of the street, where I began to shout slogans against the government such as “Down with Fidel, Down with Raul” and “Down with the dictatorship”. A police official pulled my hair and pushed me. Livan then shoved me into the vehicle.
Then, an argument broke out between officials Livan and Kenny Aguero. They were shouting really obscene words at each other. Eventually, they involved me in the argument but, without obscene words, I told them what they were: assassins, henchmen, and that I didn’t have to talk with them because I had been kidnapped.
Where did they take you once you were in the car again?
They took me to a town called Guasima, between Cardenas and Varadero. They parked me in front of a pink house. The officials tried to take me out of the car and take me to the backyard, where there was another Lada vehicle with a white sheet over its license plate. Livan and Kenny told me to get down but I told them I wouldn’t, that I had no reason to go into any house and talk to anyone.
These officials entered the house and another official came out. He did not identify himself. He was tall and had dark hair. He told me, “Leticia, I need you to get off the car because I need to have a talk with you”. I told him I did not need to talk with any of them and that they could punch me to death out there but I wasn’t going to get off the car. I told them I was going to start shouting because I was born and raised in that town and all of my father’s side of the family still lives there and If I started screaming, they would soon find out what was happening. The agent closed the door, went around the car and got inside.
He tried to talk to me and at that moment he asked me to collaborate with State Security and work for them. He told me I was going to have a better life with everything I wanted; If I wanted to move they would find me a house, and my sons would have the best jobs. I told them that it was a severe act of disrespect and that none of them had the morale to tell me anything like that. I let them know that I was fighting against a dictatorship and that I would continue to do so until the Castro brothers leave power and until Cuba has a real democracy.
At any moment were you able to identify the man who offered you to collaborate with the regime?
I wasn’t able to identify him, but in my opinion I think he was a high official of State Security as well as a psychologist. They use people like that to carry out such actions. Based on the way he spoke to me I believe this, because they all know that I would never accept such a dirty offer.
After this situation, I told them to open the door because I was going to leave. The man stepped out and left me in the car. He walked back inside the house, later exiting with a notebook. I was then changed from vehicles again. I took advantage of the moment and told all the passerby’s what was happening and also let the repressors know that “I would not collaborate with you neither tomorrow, now or ever. You are all assassins”.
In reference to this Sunday, August 18th, the political police once again lashed out against the Ladies in White in Matanzas…
Yes, in the morning various Ladies in White carried out a march from Playa Larga, where my house is, to the church, where we assisted Mass. When the religious service came to an end, there were already mobs stationed on the corner of Real and Obispo Street. These mobs were the same as always…they are paramilitary agents dressed in civilian clothing.
We decided to walk a block against these mobs. They began to shout obscenities and pro-government slogans at us. I told a group of Ladies in White to get aboard a wagon that would take them back to Playa Larga. The mobs chased the wagon, threatening the women and eventually intercepting them. Luckily, they were able to make it inside the home of Marisol Fernandez Socorro, another member of the group. The mobs remained outside for a while shouting offenses at them.
As for me, I hopped aboard my husband’s electric bicycle to return back to my house. But when we turned a corner, there were already mobs waiting for us. They had been organized by State Security. They shouted verbal offenses at us and blocked our path. When I tried to get off the bike, among all the screams and threats, I got tangled and hurt my left thigh. I was injured and lost lots of blood.
My husband, Rudel, took me to the hospital. After much wait, I was able to see an orthopedic. He gave me stitches on the wound, which turned out to be very deep (at least 10 centimeters). This was all the fault of the mobs organized by the political police and the Castro brothers to harass and attack us, Sunday after Sunday, just for assisting Mass and marching.
what is your response to all of this persecution?
I am sending out a clear message to these repressors: Wound or no wound, beatings or not beatings, I am going to continue assisting Mass, demanding freedom for all political prisoners, freedom for Cuba, and respect of Human Rights. We are going to continue out on the streets because the streets belong to Cubans, not just them. Down with the dictatorship! We want Human Rights! Laura Pollan Lives!
Check out this audio of Leticia Ramos recounting the events (in Spanish):
To contact Leticia Ramos in Cuba:
Cell Phone– + 52-481-807