After a week of arbitrary arrests, beatings, and deportations, the Ladies in White have once again made it clear that Sundays are sacred for them, as they have chosen to not abandon their marches to Mass throughout the country, despite any types of consequences. This 17th of February, various women were reportedly detained by the State Police, while many others were able to surpass cordons and make it to Mass, praying for the freedom of all Cubans.
Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, former political prisoner of conscience, used his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) to inform, from Cuba, about what was happening with the Ladies.
In Pinar del Rio it was confirmed that 4 Ladies in White marched and made it to church, according to messages published by Hernandez Carrillo. Another 3 women were detained: Caridad Peinado Gutiérrez, Lin Quiñones González and Iveth Pérez Pérez. Meanwhile, the representative of the group in that province- Noralys Martin Jiménez– was summoned to a police unit to be interrogated.
The repressive operations began early in Havana, according to messages sent out by also former prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta on Twitter (@jangelmoya)
“Repressive forces have activated operations against Ladies in White in Havana”, wrote the activist, “various homes of these women have been surrounded by State Security officials”.
The result was the arrest of 15 women. Ivan Hernandez identified them as: Regla Ríos Casado, Anislay Martínez Mayor, Leonor Reinor Borges, Mirta Gómez Cola, Julia Estrella Aramburo Aguada, Marlene González González, Yanelis Flores Ramos, Adriana de la Caridad García, Yanislay Pavón Governa, Belkis Jorrin Morfa, Victoria Díaz Morfa, Mariela Lizama Rojas, Lourdes Esquivel Vleito, Sonia Pina González and Yaqueline Bornes Echevarría.
However, 37 marched and made it to Mass at Santa Rita Church.
In Matanzas province: 11 Ladies in White in the city of Cardenas, 5 in Colon, 2 in Perico and 1 in Central Espana managed to make it to church without being arrested.
Meanwhile, in the central province of Villa Clara it was reported and confirmed that 3 women assisted Mass and 3 did the same in the province of Ciego de Avila.
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, another former political prisoner of conscience and national coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), informed on his Twitter (@jdanielferrer) that 56 Ladies in White surpassed police cordons throughout the province of Santiago de Cuba and arrived safely at the National Cobre Shrine, where they peacefully marched with flowers at hand and assisted Mass. “It is the highest number of Ladies in White which manage to make it to Mass in the Shrine since they started marching in July of 2011”, highlighted Ferrer.
In Guantanamo province 7 Ladies marched without being arrested, although under strict police surveillance.
In reference to the Ladies in White, Ferrer Garcia later tweeted: “Their valor, firmness and selfessness makes us all admire them and consolidates our faith in a soon free and democratic Cuba”.