Monday, May 30, 2011

Las Damas de Apoyo speak out

Crispina Xiomara Duquesne

Sonia Garro Alfonso

Niurkis Rivera Despaigne

Maura Jacqueline Barrera Martinez
Las Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White, is made up of the wives, sisters and other relatives of political prisoners, most of whom were jailed during the March 2003 government crackdown and have since been released.
Las Damas de Apoyo, or Ladies in Support, was organized to help push the cause of Las Damas de Blanco.
Members of Las Damas de Apoyo generally don't have relatives in prison, but they often join Las de Blanco in the group's peaceful marches, usually held on Sundays along Quinta Avenida en Havana.
I just posted interviews with four members of Las Damas de Apoyo on the Cuba Money Project's Vimeo Channel. The women interviewed include: Maura Jacqueline Barrera Martinez, Niurkis Rivera Despaigne, Crispina Xiomara Duquesne and Sonia Garro Alfonso.
Such groups are important to watch, I think, because they are a measure of the political opposition's strength on the streets.
Some government supporters I've interviewed contend that group members march because they receive payments from U.S.-financed democracy groups.
I asked Las Demas de Apoyo members about that general accusation, which is aired regularly on state-run media, and they said it is false.

2 comments:

Rich Haney said...

Your previous feature afforded Ileana Ros-Lehtinen an added forum to viscerally promote another Torricelli/Helms-Burton-type punishment for Cubans, Americans, and America's friends to appease the handful of lingering anti-Castro benefactors on U. S. soil. Now four dissidents who claim they are not influenced by a foreign entity. When I was on the island I got the firm opinion that the vast majority of Cubans belonged to Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. Why not interview some of them? To balance the Ros-Lehtinen diatribe, why not present the views of Josefina Vidal, the accessible and extremely forthright and insightful Cuban Minister of North American Affairs...the lady primarily in charge of making sure Cuba does not again become a colony of a foreign power and the lady who most monitors the foreign influence on the island's dissidents, whom she and most Cuban experts, such as Wayne S. Smith, consider "very few" in number. Vidal told DeWayne Wickham (USA Today): "Dissidents here are very, very few in number and mostly non-threatening. The only ones that interest me are the ones paid by the U. S. And they interest me a lot." She inferred that dissidents in the U. S. paid by, say, Iran or China, would also interest the U. S...a lot.

Tracey Eaton said...

Thanks for your comment, Rich.