FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ladies in White Submit Letter to “First Ladies” present at the CELAC Summit
Havana, Cuba – The Ladies in White “Laura Pollan” Movement has written an official letter, signed by Representative Berta Soler Fernandez, inviting all visiting “First Ladies” to this week’s CELAC summit in Cuba to also consider attending, along with the Ladies in White and other groups, the 2nd Democratic Forum on International Relations and Human Rights. Below please find the full letter translated by the FHRC:
January 24, 2014
First Ladies Present at the CELAC Summit
To you, who represent in your respective countries, the preservation of the most precious values including marriage, family, social and humanitarian, we hope that we will be granted your valuable attention and effective care.
In the coming days you will visit Cuba on the occasion of the CELAC Summit to be held in Havana between the 28th and 30th of January as representatives of governments who have been democratically elected, the opposite of what happens here. That is to say: you are legitimate representatives of your people, the Cuban government is not.
Simultaneously with this Summit, members of the Cuban opposition and civil society are holding the second Democratic Forum on International Relations and Human Rights, at which will participate, among others, the Ladies in White movement.
The Ladies in White began in the “spring of 2003” when 75 peaceful dissidents were arbitrarily detained in only 72 hours. It was the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of those detainees who started this movement when we decided to march peacefully through the streets of Havana with a gladiola in our hands as a symbol of our willingness to peacefully demand the freedom of our loved ones. Today, this movement is made up of a wide range of women who have joined our cause.
For this we suffer daily repression by State Security forces: for our desire to live in a free and democratic country enjoying the same peaceful and pluralistic co-existence, which is possible in your countries.
The same repression occurs with all peaceful opposition movements and activists. Just this past year alone, it was possible to document over 19,000 arbitrary arrests in Cuba.
The journey that started in the spring of 2003 has already become a national march that takes place in several parts of the country every Sunday. On behalf of our movement, it is an honor to invite you to meet with us so that we may accompany you to peer into another landscape of Cuban society.
Please accept our warmest welcome.
Berta Soler Fernandez
Representative Ladies in White Movement “Laura Pollan,”
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (“FHRC”) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1992 to promote a nonviolent transition to a free and democratic Cuba by empowering independent Civil Society within Cuba. FHRC maintains regular contact with human rights defenders and civic activists who are working for change in Cuba through nonviolent means.