The death of Laura Pollán, the founder and leader of the Ladies in White, is a great loss for Cuba.
May she rest in peace and may the struggle for a free Cuba continue in her peaceful and persistent spirit.
By Cuba Democracia y Vida.org - editors.
October 15, 2011
The sudden death of Laura Pollán, the founder and leader of the peaceful Ladies in White, who since 2003 marched every Sunday for the liberation of political prisoners, has shocked the world, which condemns the repression in Cuba. The opposition and resistance in Cuba and in exile are in deep sorrow over the loss of this admirable and important woman.
Cuba Democracia y Vida. Org – has followed every march and all the evil actions that the Castro government has carried out against Laura Pollán and the peaceful Ladies in White on their marches through the streets of Havana with gladiolus in their hands. Laura Pollán has been so much harassed by Cuba’s security police and their paramilitary huligans. She has been dragged by her hair, beaten and physically and psychologically tortured by the security police and their mobs. But she has always managed to contain her anger and in the most admirable way she has kept her humble dignity and always chosen her words with great care, a sign of her great generosity, her Christian faith and her firm decisiveness to continue struggling peacefully for the liberation of the political prisoners and for the human rights of the Cuban people.
When Laura Pollán a week ago was taken into hospital in Havana, there were great concerns, as it is well known that the Castro government can order doctors how to treat a member of the opposition. With such suspicions, the family of Laura Pollán rejected an offer by the government to transfer her to a military hospital.
A lot of doubts remain around her sudden illness and the failure of the Cuban medical team to save her life. Not long ago a big paramilitary mob surrounded Laura Pollán’s house to prevent her and the Ladies in White who were inside, to leave the house to make a walk to the church of Mercedes on the day of this saint of the prisoners on the 24th of September. When they tried to leave the house, Laura Pollán was hit and dragged brutally, and some have expressed worries that she in that moment might have been injected with some damaging content by the security police. This method of injections has namely been used lately by the paramilitary, as witnessed by several people in the resistance movement.
The official explanation of her death is that she suffered from two illnesses, a virus which normally is not dangerous, but on an elderly person with diabetes it could be severe, and also from Dengue fever, a mosquito carried illness which is said to recently have spread seriously in Cuba and Havana. The authorities are not happy to inform about the spread of the illness for not scaring the tourists.
Now Ladies in White and members of the democratic resistance from different parts of Cuba are trying to come to Havana to to pay visit of condolence to the family, but Raúl Castro’s repressive forces are stopping and detaining them in police stations or impeding them from leaving their homes. Not even in Apartheid’s South Africa, the police stopped the opposition from attending funerals.
Laura Pollán was not anyone, she was a great leader in the opposition and became very well known around the world, respected and admired for her dignified position and the stoic, peaceful and high moral she managed to keep in the group of the Ladies in White. The Ladies in White were honoured with the European Parliaments Sajarov prize. Laura Pollán also managed to support the opening of new activities outside of Havana and several groups of Ladies in White have started, in Santiago de Cuba, in Santa Clara, in Matanzas, in Holguín and in Banes when Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s mother Reina Loina Tamayo and the remains of her son were still in Cuba. Unfortunately international media has not paid sufficient attention to these new fronts of the Ladies in White, and the Catholic Church in Cuba seems lately to have lost or neglected their possibilities of intervening on behalf of the Ladies in White. In spite of the dubious role of the Catholic Church in relation to the Ladies in White and the liberation of political prisoners, as the majority of the liberated ended up expatriated, Laura Pollán always respected the Church and expressed her gratitude for their interventions.
We are distressed with the loss of Laura Pollán, who died too early and who had so much inner strength and even as it seemed physical strength with all the beatings and mal treatments she managed to endure. The Castros confronted her with inhumane physical and psychological repression and stress and all the boasting of the Cuban medical competence in this case showed to be of no value.
Laura Pollán, we are all greatful for your long, persistant and infatiguable struggle for the liberation of the political prisoners and the human rights in Cuba. Don’t you worry, the peaceful struggle will continue as it has already gained considerable strength. May you rest in peace, in the other world, where there are no brothers Castro, no oppressors and no political prisoners, only eternal and heavenly freedom.