Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and West New York Mayor Felix Roque were among the dignitaries who honored the leaders in Cuba’s Women in White movement, a group of females peacefully protesting on behalf of male relatives being held as political prisoners.
Prieto, who came to Hudson County from Cuba when he was 11 years old, praised the women for continuing to fight what is right in his homeland.
“It’s with great honor and privilege to be here today for these ladies that have the courage, that is incredible what they do, and shine the light on the problems that there is in Cuba,” Prieto said at a press conference at West New York Town Hall.
“Coming almost at the same age as the doctor, almost 11 years old with a single mother that decided to leave the country for a better life for me – which I’ve been able to navigate and realize, in my opinion, the American dream: that’s something that’s not afforded to the people in Cuba.”
Berta Soler, the leader of the Women in White movement spoke about her struggles in Spanish, before the event organizers took questions from the media.
Responding to a question from Hudson County View, Roque revealed that Soler was actually arrested for protesting last week, delaying her trip to New Jersey.
“The way she explained it to me, they (the Cuban government) knew already she was coming to the United States and they already knew that she was gonna be meeting with me here, in this country. They actually called my name over there,” Roque explained.
“So they basically delayed her flight, [put her] in jail so she wouldn’t make it on time. But she did, and you know what, she was a day late and here we are continuing to do what we need to do.”
Furthermore, the women were recognized at the Children First board of education slate fundraiser on Thursday, where the mayor was outspoken in talking up their courage.
” … They want democracy, they want freedom of expression and they want the way of life that we actually take for granted and enjoy in this great country. So, the ladies in white, that’s what they’re there for, and I’m honored and I’m gonna say it in Spanish, but I am extremely honored to meet women with ovaries as big as they have.”