Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Voices of Freedom: Berta Soler and Cuba's "Ladies in White"

Until 10 years ago, Berta Soler stayed away from politics, feeling perfectly content to leave the activism to her husband, Angel Moya, an outspoken critic of the Fidel Castro regime.

But it all changed in 2003, when the Castro regime launched a crackdown on its critics, rounding up 75 dissidents, including Moya, and sentencing them to long jail terms.

That’s when Soler, the activist, was born. She helped bring together wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the political prisoners, and led the women in marches every Sunday, demanding the release of their male relatives.

Notably, they wore white, and carried white flowers – a symbol of peace, and the impetus for their name, the Ladies in White.

“I was [another] kind of woman before my husband was arrested and jailed, a woman who stayed out of the spotlight, who didn’t participate in anything political,” she said in an interview with Fox New Latino.

“When my husband came out of jail, eight years later, he found me to be a totally different woman. I was a fighter, a voice for human rights, for the end of oppression, an end to the rule by Fidel and Raul Castro.”...

The Ladies in White founder is telling anyone who’ll listen during her travels that Raúl Castro’s easing of restrictions on Cubans visiting places outside the island does not translate into true democratic reform.

“It’s cosmetic,” Soler said. “They know how to exude one thing to the world, but in Cuba the restricted freedoms remain the same.”

Here's more (including a videotape interview) -- "Leader of Dissident Group 'Ladies In White' Uses Trip To Denounce Cuba's Regime" by Elizabeth Llorente at Fox News Latino.