Cuban 'ladies in white' stir solidarity protests in U.S.
Stirred by images of dissident "ladies in white" standing up to security agents in Communist-ruled Cuba, tens of thousands of Cuban exiles and supporters staged solidarity demonstrations over the weekend in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. Pop singer Gloria Estefan led the biggest protest Friday in Miami's Little Havana, receiving news from a "damas en blanco" protest in progress in Havana via cell phone and relaying developments to the Miami crowd.
"At this moment, the Ladies in White are marching and are receiving violence again,'' Estefan said, according to the Miami Herald. "Ladies in White, we walk with you."
On Sunday, actor Andy Garcia led a similar march in Echo Park, Los Angeles' historic locus for Cuban immigrants. The neighborhood blog The Eastsider LA has photos and a brief report of a disturbance that took place across the street from Echo Park Lake over flags depicting Che Guevera. In the photo above, submitted to La Plaza by Echo Park resident Alexis Rivera, demonstrators are seen arguing or debating one another.
The Herald reports on the L.A. and New York rallies here.
Voices in the exile community in the United States are emphasizing their view that all Cubans, regardless of their often conflicting political views, are uniting behind the "damas en blanco" and the memory of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the jailed dissident who died in February after a hunger strike. Could these demonstrations really be signaling a watershed moment for eventual reform in Communist Cuba?
The prominent blogger Yoani Sanchez thinks so. She tweeted from Havana on Sunday: "So many years of trying to divide Cubans and now with one blow fall all the borders, all the divisions, all the mistrust."
— Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Photo: Dissident Cuban rally in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Credit: Alexis Rivera.