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Founder Of Cuba’s Ladies In White Dead At 63

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Laura Pollan, leader of Ladies in White opposition group, talks February 11, 2011, at her home in  Havana. The Cuban church announced the release of Pollan's husband, Hector Maseda, but Maseda said he won't leave jail until all the remaining prisoner do. (Source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Laura Pollan, leader of Ladies in White opposition group, talks February 11, 2011, at her home in Havana. The Cuban church announced the release of Pollan’s husband, Hector Maseda, but Maseda said he won’t leave jail until all the remaining prisoner do. (Source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

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HAVANA (CBSMiami) – Laura Pollan, the founder of Cuba’s Ladies In White has died, according to Cuban human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez.  She was 63.

Sanchez says Pollan died Friday after she was hospitalized on Oct. 7  for acute respiratory problems and had been in intensive care ever since. She may have been suffering from Dengue Fever, according to published reports.

Pollan began the opposition movement as a sign of solidarity for wives and other female relative of jailed dissidents after her own husband was jailed in 2003.

The woman wear white and walk silently through the streets of Havana every Sunday in protest of the imprisonments.

“She was a teacher and a housewife, but she became a leader for civil rights,” said Elizardo Sanchez, a prominent human rights activist on the island. “She has played a fundamental role, without a doubt even beyond winning freedom for her husband.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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