Three members of the human rights activist group known as the Ladies in White visited the Martí studios to meet the staff and to appear as guests on Radio and TV Martí programs.
Laura María Labrada, Berta Soler and Belkis Cantillo have been regular contributors over the phone from inside Cuba and their visit in late May was emotional as they met many Martí staff in person for the first time.
“I feel like I am home,” said the group’s leader, Berta Soler, during their appearance on Radio Martí’s daily live show, Con Voz Propia (In Their Own Voice). “I wake up [in Cuba] with this show every morning, and I can’t believe I am here!”
During the interview the women explained that the work of the Martís is vitally important to the Cuban people, and, with tear-filled eyes, thanked the staff for their years of dedication and support for a free press in Cuba.
The Ladies in White was created in 2003 and is made up of the wives and other female relatives and friends of jailed Cuban dissidents.
In addition to their stop in Miami, some members of the group have embarked on a world tour to meet with European and U.S. government leaders to raise awareness of human rights issues in Cuba and to seek support for ending repression on the island. The group traveled to Brussels to pick up the “Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought,” which was awarded to them in 2005.
After outbound travel restrictions were lifted in Cuba earlier this year, many dissidents, including Yoani Sánchez, Antonio Rodiles,Rosa Maria Payá and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, have stopped by the Martís to thank the staff and leadership for their support of a free media on the island.