Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cuban Women in solidarity with Cuba's Ladies in White Brutalized by Regime Police

Beaten by police while in their custody over 7 hours with bones broken

Sonia Garro

Sonia Garro and Mercedes Fresneda carried out a march on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 23rd Avenue in Havana with a sheet with the inscription "Down With Racism & Long Live Human Rights" when they were detained by police. According to Garro and Fresneda they were detained at the police station for seven hours where they were beaten. Sonia Garro suffered a fracture of the nasal septum and Mercedes Fresneda a broken left wrist among other injuries reported the EFE newswire.

Mercedes Fresneda

Spokeswomen for the Ladies in White Laura Pollán and Berta Soler, denounced the incident that occurred against Sonia Garro Alfonso and Mercedes Fresneda Castillo, of the group of the "Ladies in Support"[Damas de apoyo] stating that it demonstrates racism against black women.

This is not the first time the charge of racism has been raised with reference to the dictatorship in Cuba. In 2009 prominent African Americans made public an open letter in support of the civil rights struggle in Cuba in large part responding to Afro-Brazilian scholar and historical leader of the black movement in Brazil Abdias Nascimento who denounced racism in Cuba demanding the release of Afro-Cuban civil rights leader Darsi Ferrer. Rather than accept the criticism and mend its ways the regime responded with a counter-campaign.

The death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a Cuban of African descent and an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience like Darsi Ferrer, on February 23, 2010 exposed the brutality of the Castro regime and its disparate treatment of Cuban's of African descent who are human rights defenders. Sadly, with the assaults against Sonia and Mercedes the pattern of discrimination and repression continue. The international community needs to demand that the police officers that beat this women be held accountable.

*Photos copied from Marc Masferrer who obtained them from Cubanet

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