The Gladioli Revolution

Saturday, April 3, 2010
Please read this moving perspective from Havana by Lucas Garve of the Foundation for Freedom of Expression.

It is on the "Ladies in White" and their inspirational struggle, which is clearly reverberating throughout the island.

The Power of Flowers

In the street, many people stopped me to ask me about them for most of this past week. They did so in a low voice, but making their indignation clear, in fact one young woman told me how much she had come to understand the manipulation of the state controlled media by the regime.

The majority of the people declared to me their rejection of the violent methods used by the repressive forces of the regime against this group of women dressed in white who walked though the streets of Havana giving away flowers to bystanders.

The Ladies in White honored their imprisoned husbands for the seven years for which they have endured suffering in Cuba's jails. They had to withstand the frontal attacks by mobs (Or Rapid Response Brigades, dressed in civilian clothing) organized by the repressive apparatus of the regime to make it seem as if though it was the "people themselves who rejected the Ladies in White."

This time, the attacks on the Ladies in White consisted of insults and direct physical violence. Hundreds of television viewers saw on TV the broadcasts of these events from stations in Miami which captured though illegal sources and video everything that occurred in Havana.

Not the Cuban baseball playoffs, not the news about the earthquake in Haiti, nor the newly taken stance of the European Union against the regime, was what was on the minds of those who saw the images on the TV of the regime's brigades against the Ladies dressed in white, at the entrance of the Church of Santa Barbara in the Havana neighborhood of Párraga, suburb south of the capital.

One observer said that the violence was directed not just against the Ladies in White, but also against the residents of Párraga, a poor neighborhood where discontent against the regime is more concentrated than in other parts of the city. The violence, used as a sort of warning against those who would dare to join the Ladies in White in their protest.

One mother said that it was amazing that a government that likes to say that it helps the poor of other countries would commit the brutalities it did against a group of women who only ask for the liberty of their husbands and who give out flowers. The woman was present in Coppelia one day when the Ladies in White appeared giving out flowers to people.

So powerful were the images transmitted by the Television broadcasts that one youth, disgusted by the violence of the government on TV, expressed that: "This illustrates the human degradation to which the government is willing to lower itself to in its desperation."

It is clearly a reflection of the crisis that drowns the lives of ordinary Cubans, governed by an elite that does not cease to dream about a perennial and eternal war (against the US), the only thing they have known how to do well. Because as we know it is easier to make war than to construct peace.

No one filled with this much hate can possibly restore the time lost by so many generations of Cubans. Much less if they are afraid of the power of flowers.

Translated from Spanish by UrbanGypsy.