HAVANA — A Cuban opposition group held three small marches in Havana in support of jailed dissidents Friday without meeting the kind of vehement pro-government response that has characterized past protests.
Members of the Ladies in White and their supporters marked International Human Rights Day by demonstrating at the headquarters of the Cuban prison system and at two jails in the capital. They accused the government of violating human rights by keeping in jail 11 dissidents who were arrested in 2003 as part of a crackdown on the opposition.
"They have innocent people in prison for seeking change in this nation," said Alejandrina Garcia, wife of prisoner Diosdado Gonzalez. "They shouldn't be afraid to open up," she said, referring to Cuba's government.
The Ladies in White was formed by the wives and mothers of 75 dissidents, activists and social commentators who were arrested in 2003. The government alleges all the dissidents are paid by Washington to undermine the political system and says many of them were sentenced for crimes including treason.