Compare the marches of the Ladies in White to #OWS. These women walk in silence on Havana's Fifth Avenue to draw attention to the plight of political prisoners in Cuba. Their marches take place on Sundays after Mass at the Church of Saint Rita, who is venerated as the patron saint of desperate, seemingly impossible causes. Many of the Ladies are wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of the 75 men imprisoned in 2003 for writing or speaking about the lack of basic rights in Cuba. The Ladies dress in white and carry gladiolas to signal the purity of their intentions.
Despite their silence, the Ladies in White suffer ongoing insults, beatings, and de facto house arrest by pro-Communist mobs supporting the Cuban government. To torment them into submission, the Communist government moved their men to prisons far from their homes.
In 2005, the European Parliament honored Pollán with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, an award named after the Soviet scientist and dissident, Andrei Sakharov, who compared the Soviet version of communism to a cancer cell. Pollán was not allowed to leave Cuba to accept the award, but the international attention offered the Ladies in White a small measure of protection.
Shortly before her death, Pollán's husband and many of the other imprisoned dissidents imprisoned in 2003 were released, but many dissidents remained unjustly imprisoned. After Maseda's release, Pollán kept on marching, dressed in white, flower in hand.
The hospital in which Laura Pollán spent her last hours was not the clean, orderly treatment center for elites featured in Michael Moore's movie, Sicko, which has become an oft-quoted chapter of the Liberal gospel. Moore's so-called "documentary" dishonestly portrays healthcare in Cuba as greatly superior to that in the U.S., in contrast to many disturbing videos smuggled out of Cuba at great risk that reveal the true state of Cuban healthcare available to non-elites.
|Pollán's mourners marching past St. Rita's Church|