“MARCH MADNESS” IN HAVANA: ONGOING REPRESSION MET WITH INCREASED SOLIDARITY BY CUBA’S HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS
Miami, FL – For the sixteenth consecutive Sunday, the Ladies in White movement reported excessive repression and politically motivated arrests as a response to their weekly, nonviolent marches in Havana.
According to Ladies in White Leader, Berta Soler, “after the Sunday march and gathering in Ghandi Park, more than ninety activists and Ladies in White members were arrested.”
A notable arrest this past weekend included activist and Estado de Sats member Lia Villares, organizer of the “#FreeElSexto” campaign, which is calling for the immediate release of Havana based graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, aka “El Sexto.” Maldonado has been imprisoned, without trial, since December of last year for attempting an artistic performance in Havana’s Central Park.
Despite the ongoing repression, however, the Ladies in White also reported an increase in participation and solidarity from members of Cuba’s independent civil society. Activists from provinces across Cuba have been making the trip to support the Ladies in White during their weekly Sunday marches.
According to Soler, “this Sunday the dominical march counted on the support of activists from the Villa Clara province who traveled [to Havana] to express their solidarity.”
Human rights activist and Pastor Mario Félix Lleonart, who traveled with the group from Villa Clara, published a tweet expressing his solidarity “#Cuba 15 Sundays of repression have made us come from Villa Clara to Ghandi Park to take the pulse of #TodosMarchamos.”
The FHRC also received information that several members of Cuba’s Patriotic Union (UNPACU), another activist group with membership in various provinces, including Santiago de Cuba, joined the march as well.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba and the Cuban American National Foundation stand firmly with the Ladies in White in condemning these acts of politically motivated repression and make an urgent call to all international human rights organizations and world public opinion to demand an immediate end to the oppression, harassment and violence being inflicted against all nonviolent activists in Cuba.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (“FHRC”) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1992 to promote a nonviolent transition to a free and democratic Cuba by empowering independent Civil Society within Cuba. FHRC maintains regular contact with human rights defenders and civic activists who are working for change in Cuba through nonviolent means.
The Cuban American National Foundation’s mission is to advocate for a non-violent transition to a free and democratic Cuba, a nation that fosters economic prosperity with individual equality and social justice for all; upholds the rule of law and protects the social, economic and political rights of its entire people. To that end, CANF seeks to engage, support and empower Cubans on the island to become the architects of their own destiny by uniting, organizing and reclaiming their inalienable rights. In the continuation of the struggle for those ideals, the Cuban American National Foundation reaffirms its sacred commitment to Cuba and all Cubans.