Cuba Teen is Brutally Attacked for Defending Human Rights Group

A teenage girl in Cuba who was defending the human rights group Ladies in White allegedly was stabbed by another teenager who reportedly is the daughter of a police captain, according to The Miami Herald.

The alleged victim, Berenice Hector Gonzalez, is the niece of Ladies in White member Belkis Felicia Jorrin Morfa, the paper said. Gonzalez is said to have ended up with such serious injuries that she underwent a four-hour operation and got nearly 70 stitches.

Dissidents, who told El Nuevo Herald about the incident, said that the alleged perpetrator, Dailiana Planchez Torres, used a switchblade and repeatedly stabbed Gonzalez all over her body, almost severing her vocal chords. They complained that Torres had not been arrested.

The Miami Herald, the sister publication of El Nuevo Herald, reports that the Nov. 4 attack occurred after Gonzalez told Torres “to stop insulting her family and the Ladies in White.”

“We are dismayed by this attack and, above all, by the lack of response from the authorities,” Berta Soler, a leader of the female group, told El Nuevo Herald in a phone interview from Havana. “We are demanding justice here.”

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“This started when I heard her refer to the Ladies in White as shameless prostitutes,” Gonzalez told El Nuevo Herald. “I told her that I didn’t like what she was saying because four of my relatives, four women, are in that group.”

The Ladies in White were formed in 2003 by wives and relatives seeking the release of 75 dissidents rounded up that year and given long prison sentences.

The last people in the group who were still behind bars seven years later were freed under a 2010 deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church. Most went into exile in Spain along with their families, a condition set forth by the Cuban government for their release.

In recent years, the Ladies in White adopted a more general political agenda and continued protesting with a mostly new membership.

In 2005, the European Union awarded the Ladies in White its annual Sakharov human rights prize.

Dissidents told El Nuevo Herald that the hospital where Gonzalez was treated refused to cooperate with the family’s request for records of her stay, injuries and treatment.

El Nuevo Herald said that calls to the police station in the central province of Cienfuegos were not answered.

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