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March 23 2010

Powerful Women

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

It’s been lost in the sound and fury over health care reform (what day is it, anyway?) but March is still Women’s History Month – so it’s worth recognizing a group of brave women in Cuba who silently protest the government’s human rights violations.

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Thirty women walking with gladiolas don't usually strike a frightening pose—unless you're the government in Cuba. Last Wednesday, the Castro government broke up such a peaceful march in Havana, lest the courage of the "ladies in white" become contagious. 

This month marks the seventh anniversary of the "Black Spring," when Cuban state security rounded up scores of journalists, political dissidents, writers, poets and independent librarians that the regime decided were a threat to the revolution. Seventy-five of them received harsh prison sentences in summary trials. 

Many of the wives, sisters and mothers of the prisoners have petitioned the government for improved prison conditions and their release. Dressed in white, they have highlighted their calls by walking each Sunday after Catholic Mass through the streets of Havana. In 2005, they were awarded the European parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The government has alternately ignored or harassed them, but the ladies march on.

It’s easy to fall into a funk about the outcome of the health reform battle – which is why I particularly appreciate the Journal article. It’s good to be reminded every once in a while that tremendous injustices still exist around the world, and how lucky we are here. Liberty, political freedom, and economic opportunities are principles that know no boundaries, and ones that we must continue to promote.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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