In recent days, repression in Cuba has has hit a fevered pitch, with the Castro dictatorship especially targeting the Damas De Blanco, or "Ladies In White," for special attention. Because nothing scares a cowardly regime like the Castro dictatorship like a bunch of women who want to gather together to pray.
Amnesty International is calling for the world to take action on behalf of the Damas:
Members of the Ladies in White have been detained in Havana and several other places in Cuba. Some remain in detention and the authorities have failed to provide reasons for their detention or information on their whereabouts.
From 21 to 24 September the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) held several activities, including masses and marches in Havana, to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (Virgin de la Merced) and in memory of former political activists. Since 20 September, various members of the Ladies in White have received intimidating notes aimed at preventing them from taking part in activities. Reports from the group state that the headquarters in Neptuno Street, Havana have been surrounded by police officers.
Around 50 members of the group, who travelled from different provinces of Cuba to attend the activities, were arrested on their way to Havana. The majority of them were released and deported back to their provinces, however 19 remain detained and their whereabouts are unknown. On 24 September as the Ladies in White planned to attend mass, an act of repudiation (acto de repudio see background information) took place at their headquarters. Government supporters and state agents gathered in the street chanting pro-government slogans and intimidating the women. In the early morning of 25 September 18 members of the Ladies in White were arrested at the headquarters.
Amnesty International believes that the repeated use of short term detentions of members of the Ladies in White and other activists in Cuba is a tactic used to silence dissident voices in the country and prevent peaceful activities. Furthermore the systematic arrest of activists travelling from the provinces to Havana represents an excessive limitation to freedom of movement and represents excessive control and harassments of dissidents.
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