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Ladies in White leader dies

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Ladies in White leader dies

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HAVANA, Cuba – Laura Pollán, founder of the Cuban dissident group, Ladies in White, died on Friday, her husband and other associates said. She was 63.
Hector Maseda said his wife died of a “cardio respiratory attack” after doctors had tried for nearly an hour to revive her.
He said she had been in intensive care for acute respiratory problems since October 7 and had undergone a tracheotomy to help her breathe and that doctors had also discovered a strain of dengue and that “an aggressive respiratory virus” was the main problem.
Maseda said Pollán was rushed to the Calixto Garcia Hospital in Havana with a respiratory emergency, later diagnosed as a viral pneumonia, and was immediately admitted to the intensive care ward in “very grave but stable” condition.
Maseda said doctors also found she was suffering from “a small and not alarming” kidney infection, and was suffering from dengue.
Pollán , who was born February 13, 1948 in the eastern city of Manzanillo, founded the  Ladies in White group along with the  wives, daughters and mothers of the 75 dissidents sentenced to prison terms of up to 28 years during a wave of repression in 2003 that came to be known as Cuba’s “Black Spring.”
In 2005, the women won the most important human rights prize awarded by the European Parliament, the Sakharov Prize, and slowly became the only dissident group allowed by the government to stage street protests in Havana.
Pressure from the women also helped push Cuban ruler Raúl Castro releasing the last 52 dissidents, in prison since 2003. (CMC)