By M. H. Lagarde*
During a ceremony held at the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress, the president of the National Endowment for Democracy (a covert CIA agency), Carl Gershman, posthumously honored Laura Pollan (1948-2011) the Service to Democracy Medal.
Yolanda Huerga Cedeño, a representative from the counterrevolutionary groups in the U.S., received the medal on behalf of Pollan's relatives. She said that Pollan’s death had "strengthened" the “Ladies in White,” a mercenary group that she founded.
During the ceremony, one of the representatives of the Cuban-American mafia, the Democratic senator from New Jersey, Bob Menendez, said that the Cuban government is a "threat" to the peaceful activities carried out by the "Ladies in White" for the "dignity" of the Cuban people.
The president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Lower House and Republican leader in Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and her Democrat colleagues from New Jersey, Albio Sires, and, Howard Berman (California) also participated in the ceremony.
Pollan's widower, Hector Maceda; her daughter, Laura Labrada Pollan; and the current leader of the Ladies in White Berta Soler also took part in the event via videoconference from Havana.
Both the U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent statements that were read during the ceremony.
" Taking to the streets in peaceful protest to draw attention to the plight of those unjustly held in Cuba’s prisons, Taking the streets in peaceful protest to attract attention on the difficulties of people unjustly detained in Cuban prisons, Laura Pollán and the Ladies in White have stood bravely against Cuban authorities" read Obama’s statement.
Obama also criticized "the campaign of repression unleashed this weekend" against the Ladies in White in a street in Havana, during a ceremony in memory of Pollan.
The president referred to an incident that took place on December 11, when a group of 50 women members of the "Ladies in White" was harassed by dozens of pro-government militants after concluding a peaceful march after a mass.
Obama reiterated the U.S. support for the Cuban people "to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings.”
What the president did not say in his statement was that the provocation orchestrated last weekend by the Ladies in White was oriented during another tribute to Pollan held in the house of the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana on December 7.
Obama should know that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is dedicated to organizing and funding subversion in Cuba and may respond to the interests of electoral politics of the current U.S. government, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the determination of the Cuban people to defend their sovereignty.
M. H. Lagarde, a Cuban journalist, is the director of the Cubasí portal. Cambios en Cuba is his blog.