Laura Pollán was a human rights crusader who fought to expand basic liberties in Cuba. Her deep desire for change drove her. But there was something else motivating her: Her love for her husband, Héctor Maseda.
Maseda was a journalist who was jailed in 2003. Pollán founded Las Damas de Blanco to push for the release of not only Maseda but 74 other dissidents, democracy activists and journalists jailed as part of the so-called Black Spring crackdown.
Even after Pollán and other Las Damas members achieved their goal with the freeing of the Group of 75, Pollán continued her fight. She and other members of Las Damas took to the streets and marched every Sunday morning.
Cuban authorities vilified Pollán in the state-run media, calling her a "mercenary" who received money from U.S. government-financed organizations. Others praised Pollán as a hero, a woman of great courage. Whatever your view, Pollán was an important player in Cuba's transition to the post-Castro era.
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