Berta Soler: 'Let them take the equipment, but broken'
The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, the former political prisoner from the "Group of 75," Ángel Moya, were arrested early Monday morning, for the second time in less than 24 hours. The activists had broken the cameras that had been installed at the group’s headquarters in Lawton, and thrown them onto the street.
The incident began on Sunday, when State Security forces and Police tried (but failed) to break into the Ladies in White headquarters, under the pretext of carrying out an inspection. At that time the women, including Soler, were being held for participating in the #TodosMarchamos campaign.
State Security sent a young man "to go up on the eaves of the house and steal the cameras from the window," Soler told the DIARIO DE CUBA. The equipment in question consisted of the cameras the group of women uses to record the repressive operations carried out against them every Sunday.
"He managed to break one of the cameras. All to wipe out what´s visible, so that the world doesn't know what’s really going on," she added.
The activist explained that, after being released, and anticipating that regime forces would try to enter the house again, the Ladies in White and other activists decided to destroy the equipment on their premises.
"As we were threatened with these acts of vandalism at the national headquarters, the order was to break all the equipment we had, so that they wouldn´t take it," Soler said. "Rather than having them take it, that is, to steal it, we'd rather break it first."
According to the leader of the Ladies in White, the agents told the dissidents: "go ahead and break them, we'll take them broken."
Soler said that she and Moya arrived at the movement’s headquarters at "about 12 at night," took all "the equipment, already broken," and threw it onto the street, right in front of the house.
"About fifteen minutes later the police came and, on the orders of some five State Security agents there, who were watching us, arrested Ángel Moya and I. We were held for about 20 minutes. During that time we were in a patrol car, near the Aguilera unit," she said.
"Finally, by order of the State Security Department, apparently, they took us back to the national headquarters and released us," she added.
The Ladies in White have been victims of "inspections" before, which have included the confiscation of their goods – including toys and food that was for parties with neighborhood kids and dissidents' children at Christmastime. Such incidents have occurred both in Havana and at provincial headquarters, like that in Holguin.