Sunday, March 18, 2012

Laura Pollan, one of the leading voices of opposition in Cuba, who founded the protest group, the Ladies in White, died

Laura Pollan, who helped found the Ladies in White dissident group after her husband was jailed in 2003 crackdown on government opponents, died in a Havana hospital at the age of 63, his family and fellow dissidents said.

Pollan The fighting has been a leading spokesman for the opposition in Cuba and deeply involved in promoting change in the communist island until he developed a lung disease and went to the hospital on Oct. 7.

She had been on a respirator in the intensive care unit Calixto Garcia Hospital since and died of cardiac arrest Friday, said Berta Soler, his former co-leader of the Ladies in White.

husband Hector Maseda, told Reuters at the hospital medical staff had tried for an hour to revive her without success.

"I asked to see her and went to see his body. I was there with her for a while, alone," said the visibly shaken Maseda.

Elizardo Sanchez, president of the Independent Cuban Human Rights, said the loss was a great Pollan for opponents of the Cuban government.

"It's really bad news for human rights and pro-democracy movement. It is an irreparable loss. We'll see over time whether further step forward to take his place, "he said.

After 75 dissidents, including Maseda, were imprisoned in March 2003 against known as Black Spring in Havana, former teacher helped found the Ladies in White with relatives of other prisoners and started doing vigils every Sunday in Havana to press for his release.

Dressed in white and each carrying a single white flower, walked in silence along a main avenue in Havana after attending services at the Santa Rita Catholic Church in the garden district capital of Miramar.

The Ladies in White have continued their march on Sunday, saying that there are still political prisoners in Cuba, and this summer launched a second chapter in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, who met with strong resistance from the government.

Cuba considers dissidents as mercenaries working for the enemy for a long time in the United States, and until now had said nothing about the death of Michael Pollan.
Cuban state media

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