|Ladies in White marching today in Havana, Cuba (Photo by Angel Moya)|
Opposition mobilized today to draw attention to a continuing injustice that arose with the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba. Zaqueo Báez, María Josefa Acón and Ismael Bonet are the three dissidents who were arrested for approaching Pope Francis before his first Mass in Cuba and remain imprisoned three weeks later. The three are members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and are on hunger strike. Yesterday, UNPACU's leader Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia announced that there movement would be protesting to demand the release of the three jailed activists and regime repression. Today that promise was carried out.
In addition UNPACU participated in various activities across the island. For example, in Havana, they joined with the Ladies In White (Damas De Blanco) as they gathered in Gandhi Park after Mass and began their peaceful march only to be attacked and detained by agents of the Castro regime. The march today was dedicated to the martyred founder of the Ladies in White, Laura Inés Pollán Toledo.
Today agents of the Castro regime engaged in a nationwide crackdown in which initial estimates were that over 200 activists were arrested, many of them violently. They also assaulted UNPACU Headquarters in Buenaventura, Holguín and in Santiago. Many activists were detained & beaten. Their cell phones remain out of service.
Earlier tonight Lady in White Sayli Navarro reported over twitter that Ladies in White in Matanzas province had been released but that among them, Leticia Ramos Herreria was one of the most badly beaten by five female thugs of Castro's regime.
At 10:55pm tonight Cuban dissident Antonio Rodiles expressed concern for the Ladies in White whose whereabouts at that later hour remained unknown. At 12:06am Yriade Hernandez Aguilera the Eastern coordinator of UNPACU reported that "more than 300 human rights defenders, of different organizations had been detained."