Blanca: During the Black Spring in 2003, the Cuban government arrested and summarily tried and sentenced 75 human rights defenders, journalists and librarians for alleged “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state”. One of the human rights activists arrested was my husband Raúl Rivero.
After the arrest, the government retained them in trial detention in a prison close to la Havana. There, we, their wives, daughters and sisters met and started to give each other moral and financial support.
The Damas de Blanco – Ladies in White – were formed two weeks after the arrests by a small group of women related to the prisoners, mostly their wives. I was present the first day we went to the Santa Rita church for mass, dressed in white in sign for our pacific opposition to the massive arrests. Every Sunday, more women joined the protest and the movement grew bigger. After a few weeks of attending mass in Santa Rita, Laura Pollán, proposed to go out to the nearby park and to organize a silent non-violent protest march.