The real revolutionaries

Berta Soler Fernandez– one of the brave women protesting their dissident husbands’ arrests and imprisonment by the Cuban regime– has written about her recent experiences for The Washington Post.

berta soler.jpg
Berta Soler holds the letter she wrote
to Fidel Castro demanding hospital
treatment for her imprisoned husband.

She notes that the recent release of seven of the 75 dissidents for reasons of health was not the “liberation” that some proclaimed.

Foreigners tend to attribute these releases to pressures from outside (the United States or the European Union) or as a nice gesture by Fidel Castro toward the Spanish prime minister. Here in Cuba we think that it simply would not look good if political inmates died in prison, so seven sick prisoners (and seven others before) were allowed to serve the rest of their sentences at home.

We wives of prisoners would like to think that we’ve helped publicize their cause. Every Sunday after Mass, all dressed in white, we peacefully march in a group up and down Fifth Avenue in Havana. We sometimes get signs of solidarity from the passing drivers who know us as the “ladies in white,” and we always get intimidation from the state security agents.

Soler reports that her husband, Angel Moya Acosta, “is enduring his fourth detention since 1999, when he openly declared his dissent — a not-so-frequent attitude among black people in Cuba. Until then, he was a simple technician earning his 135 pesos ($5) a month, although I must say that after fighting for a year and a half in Angola he was less convinced of the rightness of everything the Cuban regime was doing.”

Dissidence among Afro-Cubans must be especially galling to a regime that likes to proclaim its commitment to racial equality.

Moya, who was hospitalized for a herniated disc only after a 41-hour protest in Revolution Square by his wife and some others, is serving a 20-year sentence.

Soler writes:

Moya told me that he does not want to be released “for health reasons” since he should not be in the prison in the first place. This may mean that [our children] will not have a father for many more years to come, but I am proud of Moya’s attitude.

I await the inevitable comments from the inevitable commenters that Soler and the other wives are in fact dupes of US imperialism. Wrong. They and their husbands– not Castro and his sclerotic regime– are now the real Cuban revolutionaries.