Today the world seeks to celebrate women's accomplishments around the world on International Women's Day and in the case of Cuba that requires that the Cuban Ladies in White and the Rosa Parks Women's Civil Rights Movement be recognized. Over the past half century of totalitarian rule in Cuba there has been a systematic and brutal denial of all human rights and Cuban women have suffered doubly because the regime claims to have brought equality to women in Cuba. Much like its claims on race relations what that means is that women who speak out about injustices they have suffered are silenced.
On Wednesday, November the 30th, three female human rights defenders, members of the group “Ladies in White’ were dragged, beaten and violently arrested in a crowded public park in Havana for displaying a white sheet that read: “Down with Hunger, Misery, and Poverty”, “Stop lying and deceiving the Cuban people”. Ivón Mayesa, Blanca Hernández (77 years old), and Mayra Morejón cried out Freedom! at the Fraternidad Park, before dozens of citizens. Some of the onlookers who tried to prevent the arrest of the three women were pepper-sprayed by the policemen. Mayesa’s husband, Ignacio Martínez Montejo, was also beaten and arrested and is detained at the Acosta Police Station in Havana. Hernandez and Morejon were released but the whereabouts of Ivon Mayesa are unknown to her family since her arrest.Standing up and demanding human rights and economic justice in Cuba led to beatings and imprisonment and in at least one case the untimely death of a beloved activist. Let us remember their courage and support their demands for freedom and justice.