Monday, October 17, 2011

17-10-11 |

For the first and only time men marched with the Ladies in White

By Jeff Franks

They joined their usual Sunday walk through Havana, after death of their leader Laura Pollan. The demonstration is done on time for eight years

Photo Credit: Reuters

The group sent a defiant message to the government and allowed the men join the march for the first time since its formation in  2003 to honor them for their support to the group and its leader, Laura Pollan, who died after a brief illness on Friday at age 63.  More than 100 men and women, women dressed in white with ribbons black for mourning, walked down Fifth Avenue in Havana silence, as they have the Damas every Sunday for more  eight years.

At the end of the course of 25 minutes shouting "Laura Pollan lives" Instead of his usual "Freedom." As most of the time, Cubans who did not spend much attention. It is believed the first time in decades that men have participated in a public protest in Cuba, without the intervention of the police and agents  State security, None of whom were visibly present.

Berta Soler, co-leader for a long time Pollan,  said it was the only time men join women in  their marches, which will continue as usual. "It's a very hard but  a moment that we can not falter"He said." Laura Pollan is spiritually with us and today is going to march with us  and will always continue marching with us, "he said.

Soler said that the Cuban government want to see "we are strong and we will continue this fight for the freedom of prisoners politicians but also by human rights defender. "About it, some of the women who participated in the march were crying whispered.

Pollan led the founding of the Ladies in White to demand freedom of her husband and 74 other dissidents after being incarcerated in a  Government offensive in March 2003. They began their marches  week at a time when there were public protests in  tightly controlled Cuba and is still very unusual. The Government tried to stop walking, but never figured out a way  internationally acceptable and allowed them to continue to do so under certain limitations.

Cuban leaders and dissidents are people hired by United States, its old enemy. The challenging Pollan became one of the leading voices of opposition in Cuba and participated dissident movement actively until he developed a lung disease and died in a Havana hospital, in a blow to the small dissident community in Cuba. Her husband, Hector Maseda,  and others imprisoned in 2003 have been released from prison and Most got their freedom after President Raul Castro agreed to release in a deal brokered by the Catholic Church year  past.

Maseda was part of Sunday's march, carrying a  Pollan' s picture as protest , with the words "Laura Pollan Toledo Present  .... "He pointed out that allow the Damas de Blanco to continue using the house he shared with his wife in the Havana neighborhood Central Havana as host.

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