Back to all interviews
Freedom Collection

Interviews with Berta Soler

Interviewed December 10, 2023

Primarily, Gandhi and Martin Luther King inspire us. Laura Pollan and Oswaldo Paya inspire us. Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who gave his life seeking to improve prison conditions not only for himself but also for the rest, inspires us.

[Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948) led India to independence from Great Britain and was a pioneer of nonviolent civil disobedience. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) was an American clergyman and civil rights leader. King used nonviolent civil disobedience to press for civil rights for African-Americans. Laura Pollan Toledo (1948 – 2011) founded the Ladies in White opposition movement in Cuba. Her husband, Hector Maseda Gutierrez was one of the Group of 75 opposition activists arrested in the 2003 Black Spring crackdown. After her death, the movement was renamed the Laura Pollan Ladies in White in her honor. Oswaldo Paya Sardinas (1952 – 2012) was a Cuban dissident who founded the Christian Liberation Movement. He was awarded the Andrej Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament for his opposition activity. He died in a mysterious automobile accident, which many have alleged was orchestrated by the Cuban government. Orlando Zapata Tamayo (1967 – 2010) was a Cuban dissident and prisoner of conscience. He died while on a hunger strike.]

I want to emphasize that we continue Laura Pollan’s legacy. She was a woman who gave her life and lost her liberty at home. She was a woman with love, principles, and dignity. She was intelligent. She taught us to fight not only peacefully, but also in a nonviolent struggle. We must continue her legacy.

She was a woman who sought not only her husband’s liberty, who is still not free, he is under house arrest. She sought liberty for all political prisoners, the respect for human rights, and liberty for all Cuban people.

Martin Luther King is a man who fought for respect for blacks and was an example in that peaceful struggle. I can also mention Rosa Parks, a woman who said, “Why should I leave a seat to give it to a white person if I am equal?” And Gandhi, a very peaceful man with the nonviolent struggle who with patience followed and sought what he wanted: respect. They inspire us. They are people who gave their all for what they wanted.

[Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) was an American civil rights activist.]