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Themes La Primavera Negra de Cuba » Alejandrina García de la Riva

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Alejandrina García de la Riva was born on April 12, 1966, in Matanzas, Cuba. Her first years of life were spent on a sugar mill in the municipality of Calimente. She went to technical school at the Álvaro Reynoso Institute in order to study agriculture and agronomy and held jobs as a statistician, grocer, independent journalist, and a correspondent for Servicio Noticuba, a press agency considered illegal by the Cuban government.

In 1983, Alejandrina married Diosdado González Marrero, a decision that ultimately led her down the path of nonviolent civil resistance. Together the couple has two children and three grandchildren.

In March 2003, Alejandrina’s husband was one of 75 nonviolent dissidents to be arrested in a massive government crackdown known as the Black Spring. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In response, Alejandrina and other wives, mothers, and sisters of those imprisoned during the Black Spring founded the Ladies in White [Damas de Blanco].

The Ladies in White became a formidable civil society organization that planned weekly marches through the streets of Havana, peacefully protesting for the freedom of political prisoners and the expansion of civil liberties and political freedoms in Cuba. As a result of her participation, Alejandrina was arrested and harassed by the Cuban authorities on numerous occasions.

Alejandrina played a crucial role in orchestrating the release of her husband and other Black Spring political prisoners. The Ladies in White lobbied Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the leading representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba, and convinced him to negotiate for the release of the prisoners. By 2011, after years of protests and several hunger strikes, the Black Spring dissidents, including Alejandrina’s husband, were released. While the majority of the prisoners went into exile, Alejandrina and Diosdado chose to remain in Cuba.

Alejandrina lives in Mantazas Province and remains active in the Ladies in White Movement. 

The situation in Cuba is unique because unfortunately any person outside of Cuba knows more about Cuba than the Cuban themselves who live on the island. The constitution of the Republic of Cuba, that piece of paper written by Jose Martí, that constitution that is completely anti-democratic- liberticide is stipulated in Article 53 where it defines very clearly an information monopoly. It states that only those who conform to the socialist ideas have permission to write and publish. To conform to the ideas of socialism and communism.

Anyone who opposes this does not have the freedom to write and publish. If the Cuban population recognizes these leaders, it is because these leaders have been able to represent a section of their society. Or by means of communicating to the masses controlled by the state like a roundtable or the news. These forms of media with their very unique ways to lie to the people were recognized by Fidel Castro in a statement he made at the Assembly of Latin American Sociologists in 2003. And how did I know about this? Through the Cuban media.

They see them as mercenaries, as corrupt people, as people with their own agenda. As a person who is not interested in the Cuban population. They are against everything. They are fighting so that the Cuban people do not live in misery anymore, to live based on need and they live more exploited than before. Unfortunately that's how it is. But that is why the Cuban people need more information. There has to be a way to create media in an independent form, an alternative form of information without the daily censorship in Cuba. And by means of this media, these leaders who are respected people can be known to the Cuban people. They would be able to give their discourses, programs, political and ideological thoughts so that the people can begin to follow them.

Practically, there is a state of silence in Cuba. The leaders do not allow people to leave their houses. Jose Luis García Pérez practically lives as a recluse in his house. He cannot leave, cannot even go to the front porch of his house because the police will come quickly, enter his house, and put him back inside. He is to stay in the house or be arrested. And that's how a lot of the resistance leaders live in Cuba. That's the reality of those who live and grow up in Cuba. A lot of people who listen to Radio Martí are sympathizers. 100% of them although I do not know them personally but I have heard them speak. 

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Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: Freeing 75 Dissidents “We even kissed the Cardinal without asking permission.” Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: Hunger Strike “I'll go on a hunger strike because something must happen. We must break the ice.” Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: The Ladies in White “We endure the same violence, marginalization, poverty, lack of rights.” More + Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: The Black Spring “They even seized my wedding photos so that not even the memory would remain.” Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: What is Freedom? “Not being afraid. Not shrinking, breathing and saying that everything is fine.” Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: Married to a Political Prisoner “I will not leave until I see your father.” Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: Background Alejandrina discusses her background. Alejandrina Garcia de la Riva: Message to Dissidents “Nothing is forever and someday it has to change.” More +