Generating Light in a Dark Place: The Cuban Ladies in White
The Cuban government has been accused of multiple counts of human rights violations and abuses including unfair trials and executions, torture, and unjust imprisonments. There are many political prisoners currently being held by the Cuban government, many for unfair or unjust reasons. Over the past few decades, Cuba has continued to imprison individuals for their beliefs or actions, including nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.
In 2003, the Cuban government arrested, tried, and sentenced 75 individual human rights defenders, librarians, and independent journalists to prison sentences up to 28 years. After this happened, relatives and wives of the imprisoned people decided to form the Cuban Ladies in White organization. Their protest against the Cuban government is always peaceful. They have sent letters to foreign governments as well as Cuban officials, appealing on behalf of their loved ones unfairly sentenced to prison. The Cuban Ladies in White ask for the release of all political prisoners. Though threatened daily, these women have stood strong against the Cuban government and opposition. They remain committed to peaceful advocacy but refuse to back down or give in.
Impacting the Cuban People for Good
On a weekly basis, the Cuba Ladies in White march peacefully in Havana. Carrying flowers and pictures of their imprisoned loved ones, they walk together through the streets and meet for mass at a local church. Not only do they silently protest for those in prison, they also are working to impact the local community. Many other women have been inspired to join them and dress in white. The Ladies in White have contacted members of the international community for support and help. They hope to bring international attention to Cuba and the political prisoners or prisoners of conscience that are imprisoned unfairly.
Each January for the past few years, the Cuban Ladies in White host a party for all the children in the community. The kids enjoy cake, gifts, clowns, and have a great time. This small demonstration alone has been an encouragement to the local community.
Fighting for Change in Cuba
The Ladies in White in Cuba are not alone in their fight for justice in Cuba. The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba is committed to helping the Cuban Ladies in White and many other on-island groups who have the same goals as us.
We want to help empower Cuban people to build a durable democracy in Cuba peacefully and with a zero tolerance policy for human rights violations. We focus on a few key areas in order to help the Cuban people:
· We promote nonviolent activism and enhancing the Cuban culture.
· We provide humanitarian aid and relief in times of need
· We provide outreach services as requested
· We assist human rights defenders in areas of communication, domestic transportation, training, expenses, and medical issues
· We promote awareness of the current civil unrest and human rights violations going on today in Cuba
· We send financial support to over 50 families of prisoners of conscience each month
But we can’t do it on our own. If you’re interested in helping, contact us to find out more about our Connect Cuba campaign.