Laura Pollan, one of the leading dissident voices in Cuba and founded of the Ladies in White group, has died in a Havana hospital at the age of 63. She died of cardiac arrest, having been admitted to hospital earlier in the week with a pulmonary illness.
Laura Pollan was a school teacher by profession, but her life changed in 2003 when her husband Hector Maseda was imprisoned in Cuba’s Black Spring round-up of alleged dissidents. This prompted Laura Pollan to form the Ladies in White protest movement, which consisted of relatives of other imprisoned dissidents.
In Cuba, a country where public protests are still extremely rare, the Ladies in White caused a stir. Their slow march every week caught the attention of the government, and all the Black Spring dissidents were eventually freed. But the Ladies in White kept their marches going, arguing that there are still many political prisoners in Cuba.