Cuban Ladies In White march through Havana on Easter Sunday. (Photo via Twitter)
Ten years after they first took to the streets on behalf of their imprisoned loved ones, the Cuban Damas De Blanco ("Ladies In White"), and the Castro dictatorship's attempts to stifle them, continue to grow.
On Easter Sunday, the secret police detained at least 23 Damas trying to attend Mass at the El Cobre sanctuary in Santiago de Cuba, according to Diario De Cuba. However, another 43 members of the group did make it Mass.
Similarly, about 40 members were able to attend Mass at various churches in Matanzas province, and in Havana, some 50 Damas made it to Mass at St. Rita's church and then marched down a major Havana street, as they have most Sundays since the "black spring" crackdown of 2003 that sparked the group's birth.
Their founder and leader Laura Pollan died under mysterious circumstances in 2011, and others went into exile with their loved ones once they were released from prison, but the Damas, with their unmatched courage, remain perhaps the island's most effective opposition group.
Another way to measure the group's success is the extent to which the regime has tried, and failed, to suppress it.
"They (the authorities) are very scared," said dissident Ovid Martin Castellanos. "The growth of the Ladies in White ... happens every day."