August 09, 2013

According to independent journalist and labor union leader Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, last month, Cuban state security agents told him that they are “awaiting orders to kill you all.” The threat to his and other activists’ lives came during an attack against democracy activists, including members of the leading group Las Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White). After attending church in the town of Colón, 12 members of the Ladies in White were detained and beaten, along with Patriotic Union of Cuba members Félix Navarro and Angel Moya, activist Lázaro Díaz Sánchez, and the spokesperson of the Independent Trade Union Coalition of Cuba, Mr. Hernandez Carrillo. In many cases, they required medical attention for broken bones or head injuries. In addition, in the town of Cárdenas, 11 members of the Ladies in White were detained while on their way to attend church.

This latest wave of severe repression has continued over the past month, with activists being regularly detained and beaten. Last Sunday, the Ladies of White encountered a crowd of government supporters outside of their church in Cárdenas, according to the Human Rights Foundation, which has condemned these ongoing attacks. Fortunately, the Ladies in White were able to escape any harm in this instance.

The Ladies in White movement was formed by the relatives of the 75 political prisoners, including Félix Navarro, Angel Moya, and Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, who were imprisoned during the infamous “Black Spring” in 2003. Today, the Ladies in White and other activists under threat from the Cuban government actively protest human rights violations and work for a more democratic Cuba.

The World Movement for Democracy condemns the arrests and physical attacks against Cuban democracy and human rights activists and calls on the Cuban government to immediately cease its campaign of intimidation and violence against them. The World Movement also urges the international community to raise awareness of this situation and to call on the Cuban government to respect the rights of its citizens.

Photo courtesy of Human Rights Foundation