Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Ladies in White - A Group Focused on Freedom of Conscience

A scholar expert in recent Latin American history and politics, Jorge Dominguez, PhD, served for 12 years as the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University. He is the author or editor of scores of articles, book chapters, and books in his field. In addition to Mexico, Dr. Jorge Dominguez maintains a strong research interest in Cuba.

In May 2016, Latin America Advisor published a dialogue including Dr. Dominguez and other experts on the subject of United States President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba. In the course of the conversation, Dr. Dominguez mentioned how the president had called Cuba’s denial of human rights to the world’s attention. In particular, President Obama met with dissidents, among them the “Ladies in White.”

These “Damas de Blanco” have spent a decade and a half protesting the detention of the country’s political prisoners in a quietly pointed way. Every Sunday, dressed all in white, they leave Havana’s Santa Rita Church and march through the streets as a living symbol of innocence and of the freedom denied their countrymen.

In 2005, the Ladies in White received the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, given annually to reflect the values of the late Russian dissident Andrey Sakharov. It took eight years, but in 2013, the Cuban regime at last allowed these women to travel to Brussels to claim their award.