Cuba: Defending “Las Damas”

Cuban bloggers continue to update their posts about the most recent attack on Las Damas de Blanco (The Ladies in White), in which members of the group were reportedly “attacked and brutally beaten…by agents of Castro State Security upon exiting a church sanctuary.”

The Coalition of Cuban-American Women has issued a press release denouncing the attack, which even includes an audio clip [es] of one of the Ladies, Tania Montoya Vázquez, relating her experience. El Cafe Cubano has republished the Coalition's statement in a show of solidarity.

The Ladies in White shout slogans. Image by Flickr user Globovisión (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The Ladies in White shout slogans. Image by Flickr user Globovisión (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Babalu comments on the “recording by opposition leader Tania Montoya Vazquez, who called in to Hablalo Sin Miedo while a violent attack against the Ladies in White was taking place yesterday”, saying:

You can hear the desperation and fear in her voice. Even if you do not speak or understand Spanish, the tone of her voice and the screams in the background give a chilling account of the brutality of the Castro dictatorship.

The incident has caused an outcry from other factions as well; see The International Federation of Liberal Youth's statement, here:

Belkis Cantillo Ramirez was shot in the arm, while others were brutally beaten with batons, stones and other objects. In the midst of the violence, Tania Montoya and Rodaisa Corrioso were arrested by the authorities. Aside from these two brave women, thirteen members of this organization, including Belkis Cantillo Ramirez, are receiving medical care at a local hospital.

The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) condemns these attacks in the strongest terms. Las Damas de Blanco is a strictly peaceful movement. To respond to such non-violent resistance with such brutal repression colours the Castro regime as tyrannical at best. If these attacks were not sanctioned by the authorities, then an investigation must be immediately initiated and given far-reaching jurisdiction.

The statement goes on to demand that “Tania Montoya and Rodaisa Corrioso must be immediately and unconditionally released”, while Babalu writes another post with “more graphic details” (including photos), saying:

A quick review this morning of the websites run by some prominent ‘Cuba Experts’ finds no mention whatsoever of this brutal and violent attack on these defenseless yet courageous women. The narrative put forth by these ‘experts’ mirrors the narrative put forth by the Castro regime…they are not about to shine the light of truth on the atrocities…

Uncommon Sense also weighs in, making the point that:

To its credit, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Santiago de Cuba confirmed the report, and denounced the attack.

This has proven to be an interesting observation, considering Babalu‘s take on a USA Today editorial suggesting that:

Post-Castro Cuba will need someone trusted by all segments of society to help shepherd this nation into a new era, without bloodshed or upheaval. Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, is that man. The son of a sugar mill worker, Ortega is uniquely equipped to fill any power vacuum.

Babalu strongly disagrees:

In a colossal display of sheer ignorance and contemptuous arrogance, Pinsky nominates for president one of the most corrupted and compromised individuals in Cuba today while ignoring venerable leaders such as Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, who unlike Ortega, has not compromised his principles or allowed himself to be used as a political tool by the dictatorship.

El Cafe Cubano supports this view, saying:

This past Sunday in ‘Santiago de Cuba, a city in the Eastern province of Cuba, women pro democracy activists were savagely beaten and verbally attacked in the streets by Cuban State Security agents after they attended mass in the Basilica of El Cobre, a Catholic shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Charity, where they prayed for the freedom of all Cuban political prisoners and for the freedom of Cuba.’

The Catholic Church silent and looking the other way…

No doubt, the Cuban diaspora will continue to follow developments and provide cyber support for The Ladies in White.


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