Cuban Human Rights Protesters Arrested Before Obama Arrived

By Faye Higbee

Cuban Human Rights Protesters Arrested Before Obama Arrived

The headlines called them “dissidents.” Others referred to them as “protesters.”  But the  “Ladies in White” are women whose husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons were jailed for speaking against the Castro Regime. About 50 of them were arrested on Sunday afternoon just before Obama arrived to start “new relations” with the Communist government.

The women march every Sunday after church. And every Sunday they are arrested. People attempt to shout them down, calling them “delinquents,” and a disgrace to the “revolution.” Into this atmosphere comes Barack Obama, smiling and waving, thinking he will fix the problem.


Berta Soler, leader of Ladies in White is arrested…again. Screenshot via VOANews

Turning in your neighbor

USA Today interviewed some who were against the protesters. One man, Felipe Hernandez Serrano, was head of his neighborhood’s  “Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.” In a Communist country, just the name alone should tell you they are designed to spy on their neighbors, but supporters say they’re just a “community organization.”

“The government doesn’t arrest innocent people. They stop agitators. You have to respect the authorities, just like you have to do in the United States.” Felipe Serrano

This is the Castro Communist regime he’s talking about. Communists who keep their power by force and intimidation at all costs. Cuban authorities also arrested an independent journalist named Lazaro Yuri Valle Roca just prior to the protest march.

Human Rights Watch reported,

Security officers virtually never present arrest orders to justify the detention of critics and threaten them with criminal sentences if they continue to participate in “counterrevolutionary” activities. In some cases, detainees are released after receiving official warnings, which prosecutors can then use in subsequent criminal trials to show a pattern of delinquent behavior. Dissidents said these warnings aim to discourage them from participating in activities seen as critical of the government.

The LATimes wrote,

Cuba now holds several dozen political prisoners in its jails, according to Cuban activists, down from several hundred a few years ago. But the government still harasses dissidents by detaining them for brief periods.

In January, 1,414 political dissidents were detained, the second highest number in years, according to Elizardo Sanchez, head of the opposition Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation. He said 56 of the detainees were beaten.


Cuba- will it ever be free again?  photo via

Obama’s trip

News media tout this trip by a U.S. President as “historic” and shows a releasing of tensions left over from the Cold War. No sitting President has set foot on Cuban soil for 88 years. But in the hard-core Communist country, “change”  may not come as it should, or as people hope.

Will Obama meet with protesters? The Cuban government is against him meeting with any ” dissidents” but the White House insists they will do so, possibly on Tuesday.

John Kerry canceled a meeting with Cuban diplomats on March 3 over “haggling”about human rights violations.

Meanwhile, the “ladies in White” still have their weekly marches, still spend time in jail, and still have loved ones who have been jailed for speaking against Castro.

“Obama comes to a repressive Cuba, he will leave from a repressive Cuba.” Member of Ladies in White