September Returns: a Month of Repression Against the Ladies in White /
Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada
Translator: Unstated, Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada
For years Neptune Street in Central Havana, in the capital of the
country, has been turned into a stage for the orchestrated Acts of
Repudiation against the "Laura Pollán Toledo Ladies in White Movement."
The present month will not stray far from its dismal history, according
to what its own members describe, along with some Human Rights activists
close to this women's movement, created after the well-known Black
Spring of 2003.
The street has once again been taken, its usual traffic diverted, and
access permitted only to those performing in the repudiation rally
organized against these peaceful women. The screams and the help of
audio equipment are part of this terrible stage set directed by the
Cuban political police.
Insults and obscene words are heard on the lips of the actors who, in
many cases, are forced to form a part of the theatrical work, under
threats of losing their jobs or their studies, just to cite an example.
Despite these constant acts of unscrupulous people, the Laura Pollán
Toledo Ladies in White Movement will not cede under any conditions. Its
brave and heroic women stand at the windows and doors and don't remain
silent against the official chorus.
Last September of 2011 was a terrible month for this movement which was
attacked in the worst way, with those participating in the act of
repudiation physically dragging and attacking the women they found
there, united in their desire to pray for the release of all the
political prisoners. One of the women assaulted was Laura Pollán Toledo,
the leader of this movement, who became mysteriously ill shortly after
being scratched by one of the euphoric attackers. A month later in
unknown conditions this woman, committed not only to the freedom of her
husband but to the freedom of a nation, died.
Today Berta Soler occupies the place left by Laura and in tribute to her
has renamed the movement that she created years earlier and which she
led all that time.
September month of horrors, led by people who don't hesitate to block
the women who worship the Virgin of Mercy, patroness of captives.
Venerated by everyone within and outside our nation.
A single question comes to my mind at these times. How many violent
Septembers do we have still to live? I ask God to return Neptune street
to normality, for the hatred between Cubans to disappear, and more than
this, for the next September to not see an act of repudiation meeting in
front of the abode of a woman like Laura, an example of dignity and
decorum, but rather than at a future gathering the hands of all will
carry gladioli and remembrance and homage to each one of these brave
September 24 2012