Lady in White Laura Pollan died
a week after she was admitted to a Havana hospital suffering from a respiratory infection and complications of her diabetes. While hospitalized, she also was diagnosed as suffering from dengue fever, a too common illness on the island.
Marc Masferrer renders homage,
For eight years, Pollan was kept apart from her husband Hector Maseda, one of the Group of 75 dissidents arrested and imprisoned during the “black spring” of 2003.
For eight years, Pollan and other Damas De Blanco — made up of the wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and other family members of the Group of 75 — marched peacefully through the streets of Havana, bearing witness on behalf of their loved ones and against their captors. They braved the worse the dictatorship could throw against , up to and including outright assaults and arrests, but they persisted, motivated by their love for their imprisoned men and as time passed, by the support of many of their fellow Cubans and of admirers overseas inspired by their example.
The Damas, with Pollan at the forefront, were among the brave Cubans who after the murder of prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo eventually convinced the regime last year that the continued imprisonment of the Group of 75 was no longer tenable. The Spanish government and the Catholic Church claimed the credit for the eventual release of those prisoners still in jail, but it was the Damas and other Cubans — like Zapata and Guillermo Farinas — with the courage to take on the Castros, who made it happen.
Even after Maseda and others were released, Pollan remained a leader, expanding the Damas’ efforts to demand the release of other political prisoners and to other parts of Cuba
Recently she was violently attacked by the Communist regime’s thugs, yet she never gave up the daily struggle for freedom.
Here she is, in her own words,