Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hablemos Press journalist who wrote about the possible intravenous bacterial infection of Laura Pollan arrested

Havana, October 17, 2011- Six agents from Cuban State Security arrested independent journalist Carlos Rios Otero at his home at 5:30 pm on Friday the 14th.
Rios Otero, who is a member of Independent Press Agency Hablemos Press, had published an article the day before detailing the critical condition of Lady in White Laura Pollan and other cases of Ladies in White who became ill after being injected during acts of repression.
According to the journalist, the agents took him to the Aguilera police station in Lawton, Havana, where he was constantly threatened until after midnight.
His arrest took place two hours before the announcement of Laura Pollan's death, at the same time when it became evident that many of the cell phones of peaceful opposition members had been cut off.
At the home of the journalist at Correa #163, Santos Suarez, a patrol car appeared with two uniformed police officers and two plainclothes agents of State Security. Another two agents in civilian clothes arrived on motorcycles. One said to Rios: "Carlos, we need to talk."
In his articles for Hablemos Press, one on September 12th "IPK Denounces Medical Power," and on October 28th, "Lethal Vaccinations against the Cuban Dissidence," Rios explored the possible relationship between the grave illness of Laura Pollan and the puncture inflicted on her at the last attack she suffered.
He cited previous instances, such as the other Ladies in White who had been injected and then suffered dizzy spells, blurry vision, fever, loss of equilibrium, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, irregular menstrual cycles with heavy bleeding, and other symptoms attributable to bacterial infection or reactions to toxic substances.
Rios said: "They placed me in the back seat between two plainclothes agents and with the two motorcycles leading a caravan that appeared to me as if I were the president of the republic. In the Aguilera station at a section they call "The Pit," they interrogated me and the four agents threatened me regarding signs that had appeared in the streets with the word "NO." I belong to the "NO" campaign. They threatened me with prison for the signs, calling it a "crime of propaganda for the enemy," but I refused to sign an "admission." They interrogated me about my friends and about a repair done on my house - remember that Dr. Darsi Ferrer was imprisoned on the pretext of the materials used in the repair of his house. They avoided talking about my articles dealing with the health of Laura Pollan and the puncture she suffered on her forearm during the last act of repression carried out by them and their paramilitary "Rapid Response Brigades." After releasing me around midnight, one said, 'Laura has died.'"
Carlos Rios believes that the sudden interest in him has nothing to do with the signs on the streets, but with the death of Laura Pollan while he writes of how the government's "battle of ideas" includes suspicious injections.
According to family members, Lady in White and photo journalist for Hablemos Press, Sandra Guerra, was "sequestered by State Security agents on Saturday morning when she was traveling to Havana to attend the funeral for Pollan."

Net for Cuba
Hablemos Press

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Monday, October 17, 2011



Laura Pollan Toledo was one of the cofounders of the Cuban opposition movement known as Las Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White). This group arose spontaneously after the arrests in Cuba's Black Spring, of 75 opponents to the regime of Fidel Castro. Women, wives, mothers, sisters and other female relatives of these peaceful men came together to demand their immediate release.

Laura is the wife of independent journalist and prisoner of conscience Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, imprisoned in the 2003 crackdown and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. She was a Professor of Spanish and literature, she worked until May 2004 when she left to fight for her husband's unjust imprisonment.

Laura has spoken out many times, explaining to the international community the repression prevailing in Cuba and denounced the inhuman conditions suffered by prisoners of conscience, deported to prisons far from their families, not receiving proper medical care and to be victims of cruel and degrading treatment.

The home of Laura is one of the meeting places of the Ladies in White. State Security knows this , so more than once Laura has found among her things hidden microphones. But she does not mind, in these five years of struggle for freedom for her husband and all Cuban prisoners of conscience, she and the other ladies have proved to be too brave to be intimidated with threats.

A courageous attitude has led them to confront a host of difficult situations. Insults, threats and smear campaigns released by the Cuban government made every day in their lives. On April 21, 2008, the world witnessed the violent eviction of a group of ladies who were protesting peacefully in the Revolution Square in Havana. Among them was Laura.

As a member of Las Damas de Blanco, Laura along with the other Ladies in White was honored with the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Human Rights in 2005, and in 2006 the prize from Human Rights First.

She contracted a viral infection that affected her lungs and was admitted to the Hospital "Calixto García" in Havana in were she contracted, a second virus that affected her kidneys and she also contracted dengue fever and died on Friday 14 October 2011 in the evening, leaving a deep emptiness and pain in the Cuban community and all lovers of freedom and democracy.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Tribute to Laura Pollan, a Patriot of Cuba!

I should have posted here when I received the knews of Laura Pollan death, but I felt like the wind was just beat out of me. I know that things like this have been happening in Cuba since the Castro's came to power, but it never stops being shocking. Laura Pollan, president of "The Ladies in White", was one of the most important leaders that the dissidents had and now she is gone and though she lives in our hearts, this sad news is very difficult for us.
She marched for the freedom of Cuba among the blows and shoves of the State sponsored mobs, never bowing her head and even while being injured by the violence, she marched on. 
She and other dissidents had reported, being poked with needles by members of these mobs, so the possibility that she was poisoned or infected with a biological agent is very real. The Castro's are well documented on these methods of destroying the opposition in the style of the former Soviet Union!
She was able to accomplish what no one in 5 decades was able to acomplish. The Castro Regime feared her.
Her leadership and her fearless confrontations with the Castro mobs, made us all proud and now she is gone, but not forgotten. Bertha Soler, will now take her place.
Soler said.....___"This is a day of mourning for the Ladies in White and for the opposition in Cuba," as reported by the  Associated Press.
The Ladies in White's message to the government is that they will continue protesting!
Laura Pollan legacy will live on and her name will be published in Cuba's history books. This history is being written as we speak by the Cuban resistance. God be with them!

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