Lunes, 16 de Septiembre de 2019
Última actualización: 18:50 CEST

The regime again prevents the Ladies in White from attending mass at Santa Rita

Agents around the headquarters of the Ladies in White. (IVÁN HERNÁNDEZ CARRILLO)

This Sunday the regime again prevented the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) from making their way from their headquarters in Lawton to Miramar to attend mass at Havana's Santa Rita Church and participate in the campaign #TodosMarchamos, which demands amnesty for political prisoners, reported Aliuska Gómez, a member of the group's board, to DIARIO DE CUBA.

According to Gómez, 12 women and 6 activists were arrested when leaving the headquarters of the women's organization. Only 3 women and 6 men were able to reach Santa Rita, later holding their regular meeting at Gandhi Park. They were later arrested when they initiated the #TodosMarchamos march.

"They didn´t let us go to mass today either, just as on the last several Sundays," Gómez said. "When we left the headquarters everything was completely taken over by State Security and Police."

"They attacked the Damas de Blanco and other human rights. We women were taken to Tarara on a bus, in which many were beaten and humiliated by uniformed policemen," said Gómez.

She indicated that the forces around the group's headquarters could be seen as of Friday afternoon, when the Lady in White Lázara Acosta was arrested at the building’s door. "We went out to defend her, and they also took Berta (Soler) away," explained Gómez, a leader of the group.

Soler was released shortly thereafter. Acosta was held until Saturday.

Several women had been "besieged" in their homes since Thursday, Aliuska Gómez reported.

On Sunday morning, "they had buses, patrol cars and ambulances around the headquarters," plus the mobs they have "to harass and offend us," she said.

In an interview with DIARIO DE CUBA this week Berta Soler explained that the regime has ratcheted up its violence in an attempt to "decapitate" the Ladies in White and dismantle #TodosMarchamos.

"If they won't let us get to Santa Rita Church, wherever we might be, we will exercise our freedom to demand that the Cuban government free its political prisoners," Soler said.

The leader of the Ladies in White also cited the case of the movement's representative in Holguín: Rosa Escalona.

Escalona's husband and son suffered a savage attack, which landed them in the hospital, with seriously injuries. The group was stripped of its headquarters in that city.

The Government has decided to "drive the Ladies in White out of Gandhi Park, off 5th and 3rd avenues, and out of the Church of Santa Rita, and they're following through on it," Soler insisted.

According to the opposition, when they are arrested, especially in recent times, State Security forces speak of eradicating the movement as if it were already a fact. She noted, however, that "nobody's going to break up this group."

"If we're not on 5th Avenue it is because we are locked up, because we are going to exercise our freedom, wherever we might be," she said.

On Sunday activists on the social networks reported the participation of a dozen dissidents from Camaguey in #TodosMarchamos.

Images posted on Twitter showed the activists with a poster reading "The Castros, responsible for breaking up a Cuban family."

The high-profile arrest of Mario Félix Lleonart and his wife.

Baptist minister Mario Félix Lleonart, meanwhile, reported the very conspicuous arrest of his wife Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez and activist Yoandy Izquierdo Toledo this weekend on the Havana-Villa Clara highway.

According to Lleonart, involved in the arrest were special troops (black berets) and police officers under the orders of State Security.

Izquierdo Toledo was sent to Havana after having a folder of documents seized from him, the minister said in an email sent to DIARIO DE CUBA. He added that he and his wife were taken to the provincial headquarters of the Special Brigade in the city of Santa Clara, where agents thoroughly searched their phones.

Lleonart, a Baptist pastor in the town of Taguayabon, is regularly arrested by the authorities.