Posted on Fri, May. 11, 2007
`Daily life in Cuba is really very hard'
* audio Audio | Cuban dissident Miriam Leiva
Miriam Leiva did not set out to become a Cuban dissident.
She was a senior official at the Foreign Ministry and in the 1990s was
asked to choose: her job or her husband, critical economist Oscar
Espinosa Chepe. She chose her marriage.
''My life changed completely. I used to travel and work very hard,'' she
said. Afterward, “I had to stay in my little apartment with almost
nothing to do. People are afraid to get in touch with me, so I lost a
lot of friends.''
Now an independent journalist, Leiva catapulted into the the dissident
movement when her husband was among those arrested in a 2003 crackdown
and she helped found Ladies in White, a group of female relatives of
jailed dissidents pushing for release.
When Fidel Castro got sick, many Cubans were expecting change. Yet the
grind continues, she said.
''Daily life in Cuba is really very hard,'' she said. “Cuban people
used to be very happy, always laughing or joking or singing, and that
has been lost. You see the faces tense, and people who are not so old
— FRANCES ROBLES