Dozens of human rights protesters arrested in Cuba

Sage Santana, News Reporter

On Sunday, March 20, just hours before President Obama made the historic landing to Havana, Cuba, dozens of humans rights protesters were arrested.

This is not the first time these protesters were arrested, however.  The group, called the Ladies in White, protest every Sunday after a mass service, are arrested every time, and then held in jail for hours to days.

The group was hopeful that due to the President’s arrival, they would be treated more respectfully. This, however, did not occur.  Instead, despite international reporters flocking Havana, the protesters were still arrested and rounded up into buses and police cars. The women were hopeful to demonstrate to President Obama that they are being mistreated for exercising their right to non-violent protest for the sake of fair treatment and human rights.

President Obama’s visit is the result of re-establishing relations with Cuba, which began in 2014.  Since then, trade has reopened, airlines have made flights to Havana, and embassies in Cuba and the United States have reopened.

Many of the protesters urged President Obama to speak out against the Cuban government, stating that Obama has the “moral responsibility” to speak out against the injustice and violations of human rights on the communist island nation.

Despite the hope surrounding Obama’s arrival, the head of the Cuban Human Rights Commission, Elizardo Sanchez, was less optimistic that anything would change simply due to the President’s arrival to Cuba. Sanchez said that since the regimes are so oppressive to the Cuban people,

“…it will be “impossible to put a good face on the human rights situation…in Cuba.”

The President is expected to stay for Cuba for three days.

 

Photo Credits: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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