Yesterday I linked to Marc Masferrer’s Dania Virgen García, Cuban Political Prisoner of the Week, 4/25/10
A fellow U.S.-based blogger, Carmen Ferreiro, is reporting tonight that Virgen García was arrested Friday, April 23, sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in prison and today sent to the Manto Negro prison. A reason for her detention was not given, but speculation is that Virgen García was arrested to block her from showing support for the Damas De Blanco, or "Ladies In White," who have been warned by the authorities to limit their activities on behalf of their imprisoned loved ones.
Similarly, the secret police has increasingly harassed, threatened, etc. other women, like Virgen García, who have demonstrated their support for the Damas. Carmen tells me tonight she fears other Damas De Apoyo, or "Ladies In Support," may also be arrested.
In an impassioned plea for the world to take notice of what happened, Carmen recounts how she "met" Virgen García and helped her launch her blog. The need to freely report and comment on events and conditions in Cuba today burns brightly in Virgen García, and even has it became increasingly evident in recent days that the Cuban secret police might move on her, she persisted with her work.
Most would wish to do more for Virgen García as she sits in a Cuban prison tonight, but at least you can do this: If you have a blog or Twitter feed or Facebook page, spread the news of what happened to her. Or just visit her blog.
It might not seem like much, but it will show the world, and her captors, that she is not forgotten.
Go here to read Virgen García's blog. Several recent posts detail the increased harassment she had been receiving from police.
And go here to read, in English, one of her latest reports.
Today the Wall Street Journal writes about Dania Virgen and the Ladies in White:
Women Who Brave Mobs
Cuba’s Ladies in White are getting leaned on by Havana’s toughs.
She [Dania Virgen García] didn’t have a loved-one in a Cuban jail when she began processing through the streets of Havana with the Ladies in White on Sundays. But she decided to join them in solidarity against the unjust imprisonment of husbands, fathers and brothers rounded up during the Black Spring of March 2003 and handed harsh sentences for speaking their consciences. She was one of a growing number of women there who call themselves “Ladies in Support.”
On April 22 state security arrested the young blogger, and less than 48 hours later she received a prison sentence of one year and eight months. She has been sent to the country’s largest maximum security prison for women, known commonly by Cubans as “the black veil.” It’s easy to guess why they call it that.
The regime’s assaults on independent thinkers date back 51 years. But Ms. García’s arrest is not without significance. It is the clearest sign to date of the regime’s desperation in the face of popular discontent.
Ms. García is what Cubans call an independent journalist. Carmen Ferreiro, director of information and press for Human Rights Cuba based in Miami, says she met Ms. García online “toward the end of 2009” and helped her get her blog up and running. The two women exchanged emails. “This is how in a short time I came to know that Dania was very devoted to her Catholic faith, that she spoke affectionately about her family, that she enjoyed photography and struggled despite limited resources for human rights in Cuba.”
Ms. Ferreiro reports that Ms. García knew she was under surveillance and explained the threat in an email: “Things in Cuba are not well at all, but I am going to continue this struggle to the death or until whatever they want happens; I will continue to support the Ladies in White, even if they continue to beat us, because what they want is for us to be afraid and we are not going to allow that to happen.”
Though without Dania now, the Ladies in White surely will be walking in the face of an increasingly dangerous mob again this Sunday. The world might want to take notice.