“Why women now lead the dissident fight in Cuba” is a fascinating article in the Christian Science Monitor highlighting the efforts made by a group of courageous women peacefully fighting for change for all Cubans in spite of the growing defiance they are facing from Raul Castro’s government.

“If you show fear, they will eat you,” says Ms. Rivero, a regional head of the Latin American Federation of Rural Women (FLAMUR), a Cuban group dedicated to pushing for political rights. “They won’t swallow me whole.”

It was campaigning for a single currency that got Rivero punched in the mouth last August, she says. She was handing out T-shirts with the slogan: “Con la misma moneda,” meaning “with the same money.” This prompted three men, who she says were government-paid thugs, to attack her on a city bus and attempt to throw her out into traffic. She lost two back teeth, she says, opening wide to show the gaps.

“We’re always under surveillance,” says Ms. Suarez calmly, explaining that she works with other women to bring political prisoners food, medicine, books, and moral support. But, at times, she becomes the prisoner. “Sometimes they’ll lock me up for a day or so.”

Her daughter, Yuricel, who was inspired by US first lady Laura Bush (a former school teacher and librarian) to become a librarian, is out of work and blacklisted. She says she was fired for handing out books provided by the US government.

Rivero’s still so angry with the government that she rejects the food vouchers that all Cubans get. Instead, she’s made it a point to be self-sufficient by growing enough food to feed herself – and to donate to others.

Read full article.