Posts Tagged ‘Laura Pollan’

Cuba: Racism in the revolución

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Mary O’Grady interviewed Berta Soler,

Havana in Black and White
Dissident Berta Soler takes a big risk by telling the truth about racism and repression in Cuba.

Now Ms. Soler is taking advantage of the dictatorship’s new travel policy—that for the first time in a half-century allows Cubans to take trips abroad—to ask the international community for “moral and spiritual support” for the Cuban people in their struggle against the dictatorship.

She wants the world to know of Castro’s racism. Blacks, she says, are grossly underrepresented in the universities and overrepresented in prisons. “The beggars in Cuba are black, not white. The marginalized are blacks, not whites.” She adds: “They tell me ‘Negra, what are you doing? You have a lot to thank the revolution for!'”

Repression is on the rise, and in the absence of international condemnation the regime feels free to administer publicly the beatings the Ladies in White endure in order to show who’s boss. The regime used to send women only to attack the Ladies but now they send men as well. They punch the Ladies with the clear intent to hurt them. They sometimes break bones.

Ms. Soler says that these attackers “never have been neighbors” spontaneously defending the glorious revolution. They are professionals working for the Interior Ministry or civilians who obey the regime in order to keep their jobs or their place in university classrooms. Ms. Soler says that for the past two years many of “the same faces” have consistently shown up to attack the group. The woman who bit Laura Pollan is well known by the Ladies because she is a regular on the goon squad and works for the ministry.

It is chilling to think what might happen to the politically incorrect Ms. Soler when she returns to Cuba, which is what makes her trip to Rome this week so crucial.

Lady in White Belkis Cantillo was beaten, arrested, and taken away the week after returning to Cuba.

She has asked to see Pope Francis. If he agrees, the visit might protect her. Without it, and in the absence of other influential international voices coming to her defense, her fate is less certain.

I’m not counting on the Pope.

Too bad Beyonce and Jay-Z couldn’t drop by, though.

What killed Laura Pollan?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Babalu has Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet: A medical analysis of the painful, tragic, and unecessary death of Laura Pollan.

Too bad Michael Moore is too busy Occupying…something.

The Economist has Pollán’s obituary

Ms Pollán came brand-new to campaigning. She was a mother (of Laurita), a housewife and a teacher: someone who loved literature and had taught peasants to read in the early years of the revolution. She had never done anything wilder. Short, blonde and stout, she was not cut out to be hauled into a bus by the police. All she wanted was to see Héctor back, and all the others. Her group would meet each Sunday at the church of Santa Rita in Miramar, Havana’s grandest district, say the rosary, hear mass, and then walk ten blocks in silence along Quinta Avenida on the green verges under the palm trees. The women wore white, symbolising pure intentions, and carried gladioli, a single stem each.

Yet politics crept in. At the end of every march the women would chant “Libertad!”—for Cuba as a whole, as much as for their men. They would throw out pencils with Derechos Humanos on one side and Damas en Blanco on the other, hoping that, slowly, people would pick them up. Enemies called them “mercenaries” and “Ladies in Green”, in the pay of the United States, and Ms Pollán had to admit that they did get American dollars and American parcels for their imprisoned men. Shock mobs of other women were especially bused in to attack them, beat them and pull their hair. Ms Pollán could fight back with the best: when a man called her “Puta!” once, she threw her gladioli in his face. In one battle in September she was crushed against a wall, which may have set off the breathing troubles that killed her.

By then, the 75 prisoners they were campaigning for had been released; most by the intervention of the Catholic Church and the government of Spain, but around 20 by their own efforts. Héctor, gaunt and thin, came out only last February. The numbers of Ladies dwindled, to 15 or so, as their work seemed to be done. But for Ms Pollán it was not done. Her Ladies had to go on marching as long as the laws remained that could fill the prisons again. As long as Cuba was not free, she would go on sitting at her computer with her little dog stretched out on the tiles beside her, alert for the telephone, with her front door open and Santa Rita at the ready, and the ceiling fan turning slowly in the smothering air.

As the Communist dictatorship continues to stifle dissent, Cuba demands that the US end the Cuban Adjustment Act, and to start issuing unrestricted visas to all immigrants.

The demand was first published on Granma, the official organ of the Communist government. However, last month useful idiots from 30 countries had asked for the repeal of the CAA, as many other useful idiots had done in the past.

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Laura Pollan’s mysterious death

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Mary O’Grady looks into Laura Pollán’s death,
A Dissident’s Mysterious Death in Havana
Days after a beating by a mob, Laura Pollán fell ill and soon died. She was cremated two hours later.

For more than eight years, the Castro regime tried its level best to silence Ladies in White leader Laura Pollán. Ten days ago Pollán did fall silent. She passed away, after a brief illness, in a Havana hospital.

Hospital officials initially said that she died of cardiac and respiratory arrest. But according to Berta Soler, the spokesperson for the Ladies in White in Havana, the death certificate says that Pollán succumbed to diabetes mellitus type II, bronchial pneumonia and a syncytial virus.

Since there was no independent medical care available to her and there was no autopsy, we are unlikely ever to find out what killed Pollán. We do know that although she was a diabetic with high blood pressure, both were under control and she did not need regular insulin shots. Indeed, she had been healthy only weeks before her death, according to friends and family. We also know that the longer she remained under state care, the sicker she got.

Here’s how it happened,

On Sept. 24, Pollán was attacked by a mob as she tried to leave her house to attend Mass. Her right arm was reportedly twisted, scratched and bitten. This is notable because for more than a year, the Ladies had alleged that when Castro’s enforcement squads came after them, the regime’s goons pricked their skin with needles. Those same women claimed that they subsequently felt dizzy, nauseous and feverish. Independent journalist Carlos Ríos Otero reported this for Hablemos Press before Pollán was hospitalized.

According to interviews with Pollán’s daughter and husband and with Ms. Soler, conducted by the Miami-based nongovernmental organization Directorio, eight days after the Sept. 24 assault Pollán came down with chills and began vomiting. Wracked with pain in her joints the next day, she was taken to the Calixto García hospital. After a battery of tests she was told everything was normal and released. On Oct. 4, she had a fever and shortness of breath. A prescribed antibiotic did not help. On Oct. 7 she was admitted to the hospital, later transferred to intensive care and the next day put on a respirator.

Her family was denied visitation rights until Oct. 10, when only her daughter was allowed to see her. State security agents surrounded her bed and monitored the doctors. On Oct. 12 doctors reported that she had a syncytial respiratory virus, which is otherwise known as a cold. She was obviously much sicker.

On Oct. 14 she died. When the family was allowed to see the body, state security agents were again on hand, as they were at the one-hour wake permitted at midnight. In record time—only two hours later—Pollán was returned to ashes. Who could blame the resistance for its suspicions?

Particularly since you hear about Castro official to political prisoner: ‘We killed Laura, we can do the same thing to you…’ while Another Lady in White falls ill after mysterious injection

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The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 17th, 2011

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Flights cancelled due to volcano ash

Falsifican las cifras en Buenos Aires
Argentina tiene una de las tasas de inflación más altas del mundo. Pero, sobre la base de los datos oficiales, nadie lo sabría.

BRAZIL
Sao Paulo’s ‘Big Worm,’ an elevated highway, must go, urban planners say

CENTRAL AMERICA
Central America Death Toll at 45 From Heavy Rains

CHILE
Fading miracle: rescued Chilean miners return to harsh realities, via The Latin Americanist

Mining safety in Chile
An ounce of prevention

COLOMBIA
The Colombia-United States free-trade agreement
Get cracking

CUBA
Cuban-American relations
And then there were four

Remembering Laura Pollán

Laura is gone, Laura is no more

FRENCH GUIANA:
Video at this link First Soyuz launch from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana

More,

GUATEMALA
Justice in Central America
Parachuting in the prosecutors
Two failing states in Latin America have turned to outsiders for help. We report first from Guatemala, on a UN effort to fight organised crime

HONDURAS
Drudge: Honduras on course to break world records with murder rate…

MEXICO
CBS: Don’t forget Grenadewalker, too

Mexico’s drug war
The Perry doctrine

Mexico’s President Works to Lock In Drug War Tactics

Jailhouse Mayhem

PANAMA
Admit It: It’s Victory

PUERTO RICO
Llegó lo que faltaba, Puerto Rico launches its own Occupy Wall Street

VENEZUELA
Free gas for the rich

PDVSA Now Giving Away Gasoline to Gas Stations

Hugo Chávez, Deadbeat

While Hugo Chávez is in Cuba “for medical tests”, his former doctor says he only has 2 years left to live due to an aggressive sarcoma of the pelvis. He also stated that Hugo has been under long-term treatment for manic depression.

The week’s posts,
Lady in White Laura Pollan died.
Los Zetas: Organized crime puts the brakes in illegal immigration to the USA, aids Iranian terrorism
Soyuz launching from French Guiana
House approves Colombia/Panama/SKorea free trade agreements
The Iranian plot to kill Saudi Ambassador involved Mexican cartels
The Mounting Hezbollah Threat in Latin America

At Conservative Commune,
Laura Pollan: The heroic life of a courageous woman

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Laura Pollan: The Heroic Life of a Courageous Woman

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

My latest article, Laura Pollan: The Heroic Life of a Courageous Woman, is up at Conservative Commune.

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Lady in White Laura Pollan died

Friday, October 14th, 2011

It is with great sadness that I must report that Laura Pollan, a heroic woman of great courage, died in Cuba today of heart failure while hospitalized

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,

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