How frightened is the Castro dictatorship of the Cuban people?
It beats and arrests women who without fear or reservation, dare to stand up to the regime. Even though more in Cuba and the outside world are starting to pay attention, the dictatorship's security forces are acting with increasing impunity to stamp out any opposition.
This weekend, the scene of some of the worst repression in recent months was again Santiago de Cuba, where since mid-summer the dictatorship has cracked down on the Damas De Blanco and other women activists who only want to go to Mass on Sunday to pray for their imprisoned loved ones.
Saturday night, police and other Castroite goons surrounded a home in Palma Soriano where 13 activists had gathered. When the women tried to leave Sunday morning so they could attend Mass at the cathedral in Santiago de Cuba, they were grabbed, dragged and thrown into a bus.
Most of the women were dropped off in various spots around town, but the whereabouts of at least one, Betha Soler, a leader of the Damas and the wife of former prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta, were unknown.
History has shown that the dictatorship does not temper its repression when its opponents are women, so that the Damas are being targeted is no surprise.
But the brazen nature of what the Damas have suffered this summer, in Santiago, as well as in Havana, indicates the dictatorship's fear of what their demonstrations might lead to. As the Miami Herald noted in an editorial in response to a police crackdown on a protest by four women activists last week in Havana, any such protest might be the spark that leads to a revolution and to freedom.
That is a risk the dictatorship apparently is unwilling to risk.
So it is incumbent on the outside world to show its solidarity with these brave women, and to feed off their courage, by paying attention and denouncing the attacks on their safety whenever it happens.
Silence is no longer an option.