at 11:41 PM Friday, July 22, 2011
FROM: The Ladies in White, a movement that since 2003 has demanded the
release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who are
deprived of their freedom by the Cuban government.
REGARDING: An accusation of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by
the Cuban government against the peaceful opposition movement, The
Ladies in White.
Last Sunday morning, July 17, 2011, sixteen Ladies in White and Ladies
of Support went to the sanctuary of El Cobre, located in the town of the
same name in Santiago de Cuba Province, with the objective of
participating in a mass.
When the mass concluded and after the women prayed and asked for the
release of political prisoners, they got ready to begin a peaceful march
through the sidewalks in this town. Upon starting the journey, forces
from the so-called Rapid Response Brigade, previously posted in the
surrounding areas of the sanctuary and under the direction of agents of
Section 21 of State Security, began to throw stones and shout offensive
slurs against the dignity of these Cuban women.
Not fully satisfied with this criminal behavior, the officials of
Section 21, Department of State Security (S-21-DSE) gave a previously
planned order directly to several women to attack the Ladies in White
and Ladies in Support.
1. Belkis Cantillo suffered a serious wound to her right arm when she
was attacked by a woman who was a member of the mob with a perforated
instrument (scissors). It was necessary to suture her wound.
2. Aymee Garces Leyva suffered serious wounds as a result of the
beating, which caused a fistula on one of her vertebra.
3. Tania Montoya lost consciousness as a result of the beating. Her
clothes were half-torn off of her as well.
On May 1, 2010, the Cuban government agreed with the Catholic Church as
its witness (that is, his Imminence Cardinal Jaime Ortega) that the
Ladies in White would not be reprimanded by the Rapid Response Brigades,
an agreement which was broken on December 9, 2010, when repressive acts
began again on the evening of December 10th, the international
remembrance of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The socio-economic situation in Cuba continues to deteriorate, and as a
consequence, criticism against the government is growing, and as a
result, actions by the peaceful, non-violent opposition are growing
inside of Cuba as well. Parallel to this increase in opposition, the
government is accelerating, perfecting, modernizing, equipping, and
increasing its repressive efforts. As a result, we do not rule out
increased and escalated repressive efforts by the Cuban government, and
for this reason, we call attention to the following:
That during the act of repression against the Ladies in White and the
Ladies of Support at the Sanctuary of El Cobre in Santiago de Cuba Province:
a. The repressive mobs used stones, sticks, and perforated cutting
instruments against the women.
b. Men, who were members of the mob, kicked and beat the women.
Peacefully, we remember that the United Nations, on more than just a few
occasions, has condemned violence against women, and Cuba, a member
nation of this organization, has a government that promotes violence
against them. Specifically, Cuba finances, organizes and directs this
Given from Havana, Cuba
The Ladies in White