Sunday is the one-year anniversary of the death of Laura Pollan, leader of the Cuban Ladies In White. Few Cubans in the past 53 years have displayed the courage Pollan did in standing up to the Castro regime and leading others to do the same. (For details on events in Cuba to remember Pollan, and the Castro dictatorship's efforts to block them, follow Uncommon Sense on Twitter @marcmasferrer.)
The Human Rights Foundation pays fitting tribute to her legacy.
New York (October 14, 2012) – To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passing of Laura Pollán, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) re-releases two documentary shorts highlighting the work of the “Ladies in White,” a civil society group inside Cuba that organizes peaceful marches for freedom and human rights.
The world-renowned group was formed by the wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and supporters of the political prisoners who were arrested during the “Black Spring” government crackdown on Cuban dissidents in March 2003. During the four-day period of suppression, 75 independent journalists, librarians, and democracy and human rights activists were arrested. Since the release of most of the aforementioned political prisoners, the Ladies in White have continued their peaceful work to promote individual rights and a democratic society in Cuba. On October 14, 2011 the group’s leader and co-founder, Laura Pollán, died of a heart attack.
“HRF visited Laura Pollán several times over the years and we were able to obtain excellent footage to share with the world. We wish to remind people that Cuba continues to be a totalitarian state, and what Laura says in these videos is the current reality of life in Cuba,” said HRF spokesperson Sarah Wasserman of HRF.
“This demagogue government says that there's a lot of freedom in Cuba, that it's a paradise,” said Pollán. “I invite those people that believe in Cuba's freedom to come and live here. Come here, and live like a regular citizen, without bringing dollars, buy their food with a ration book, and try to express themselves in Cuba as much as they do in their country against their government or an individual and to say that in Cuba. This way he can see what the result is,” she continued.
"The Ladies in White continue their activities and they are subject to a never-ending campaign of harassment, persecution, hostility, and threats. It is disgraceful," said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. "Dressed in white and carrying flowers, their message of hope and resolute devotion to freedom is a powerful threat to a regime that has held power and tormented its opponents for 53 years. The Ladies in White are an inspiring reminder of the courageous and peaceful struggle of dissidents in Cuba. The world should share their determination to pressure Cuba toward a real transition to democracy and respect for human rights.”
HRF protects and promotes human rights. HRF believes that all human beings are entitled to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council is chaired by pro-democracy activist Garry Kasparov, and includes former prisoners of conscience George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.
Contact:Sarah Wasserman, Human Rights Foundation, (212) 246.8486, [email protected]