How Will Obama’s Visit to Cuba Affect the Ladies in White?

President Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday for a historic visit. No other U.S. President has visited the island in 88 years and Cubans are optimistic about his visit. One of the goals of his visit is to lift the 54-year-old U.S. trade embargo. The other is the issue of human rights and hours before his arrival, dissident group, Ladies in White were seen protesting in Havana and later arrested.

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Ladies in White are female relatives of political prisoners. Some are accused of spying for the U.S, condemned for decades in prison. One of the darkest days in Cuba took place approximately 13 years ago on March 13, 2003, also known as “The Black Spring” where about 75 dissidents were imprisoned after being accused of spying for the U.S., since then they’ve been serving sentences of up to 28 years.

Maria, Ladies in White

©Huck Magazine

The Ladies in White take to the streets to protest as they did hours ahead of Obama’s visit. “In 2013, on the anniversary of the Black Spring, my house here in Palma was attacked,” explains Maria to Huck Magazine. “The secret police gave an order to send people to my home, throw rocks and break walls with other weapons,” she continues. They locked themselves in their homes, fearing for their lives and of their children.

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