Laura Inés Pollán Toledo (February 13, 1948 in Manzanillo, Cuba – October 14, 2011) was a prominent Cuban opposition leader. Pollan founded the dissident group, Ladies in White, which holds pacific protest marches with the wives and spouses of political prisoners in Cuba to demand their release. The Ladies in White are routinely and violently repressed by the Cuban government.
Pollan worked as a literature teacher until her retirement in 2004. In 2003, her husband, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, and seventy-four other Cubans, now known as the Group of 75, were arrested in the Black Spring, a crackdown on opposition figures. The group, which included journalists, activists, and commentators, which the Cuban government accused of taking money from foreign governments, including the United States.
Pollan soon began appearing outside government facilities where her husband could have potentially been imprisoned. She soon ran into the wives of other political prisoners, which led to the founding of the Ladies in White. Pollan always wore white, a symbol of the organization, and became a key opposition figure in Cuba. Her home at 963 Calle Neptuno in Havana became a center of opposition where she hosted literary tea for wives of political prisoners.
Pollan died of cardiorespiratory arrest on October 14, 2011, at the age of 63. She had been hospitalized since October 7. According to the Cuban government, she had suffered from dengue fever.
- "Laura Pollán". The Daily Telegraph (London). October 25, 2011.
- Rodriguez, Andrea (2011-10-14). "Laura Pollan, founder of Cuban protest group, dies". Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Laura Pollán". The Independent. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Cuba 'Ladies in White' founder Laura Pollan dies", BBC News, 15 October 2011.
- The Independent: Laura Pollan: Leader of Cuba's 'White Ladies' group of activists
- Laura Pollán at Find a Grave
- Laura Pollán, la profesora a la que no interesaba la política, Carles Pérez-Desoy Fages, El País, 15-10-2011 (Spanish)
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