Press release

Cuban Government Persecutes Ladies in White and Detains 226 Opposition Leaders

ladies in white cuba damas de blanco


In response to the arrest of human rights activists in Cuba, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The Cuban government's blatant disregard for its citizens was evident again in the arrest of Ladies in White and other activists, who did nothing more than march peacefully after mass on Sunday and call for the release of political prisoners,” said Carlos Ponce, director for Latin America programs.  “As the U.S. government normalizes relations with Cuba, it should press the Cuban government to stop harassing the Ladies in White and allow Cubans to express dissenting views."

Cuban authorities have arrested Ladies in White and other civil society activists on twelve consecutive Sundays for marching in support of political prisoners. On June 7, Cuban authorities beat and arrested dozens of activists in different regions of Cuba that participated peacefully in diverse activities such as #TodosMarchamos to demand that the government end its repression of the Ladies in White. Last Sunday more than 220 civil society activist, former political prisoners and opposition leaders were detained, including Berta Soler, Maria Labrada, Aide Gallardo Salazar and Lismeri Quintana, leaders of the Ladies in White, Antonio Rodiles from Estado SATS, and Jose Diaz of Nueva Republica.

Cuba is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2014