Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
In the earliest hours of January 1, 1959, Cuban dictator
Fulgencio Batista fled the island for foreign exile. Rebel
fighters streamed triumphantly into Havana. Within days the
Castro brothers - Fidel and Raul - began to mete out instant
justice against Batista's henchman driving a wedge between
Washington and the new revolutionary regime. Within weeks,
the masks of democracy and pluralism fell away and Cuba under Fidel
Castro's leadership embarked on a course of Communist rule that has
lasted 50 years.
As the United States moves to install its eleventh President
since Fidel Castro seized power, we as a people must once again
reflect upon the cost and consequences of the Cuban Revolution and
upon the continuing obstacles that separate the world's greatest
democracy from a still intact totalitarian regime. As the
United States looks to the future, it must weigh potential trade
offs between principles and pragmatism, between openness to the
Cuban people and their aspirations for political and economic
freedom and accommodation and appeasement of Cuba's unreformed and
inflexible communist leadership. Finding the correct way
forward requires a sound grasp of where we have been as well as
principles to guide us in the years ahead.
More About the Speakers
10:30-11:30 a.m. - PANEL PRESENTATION
Lee Edwards, Ph.D.
Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought,
The Heritage Foundation
Mark Falcoff, Ph.D.
Resident Scholar Emeritus,
American Enterprise Institute
11:30 a.m. - KEYNOTE SPEAKER
The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez
Secretary of Commerce,
U.S. Department of Commerce
Ray Walser, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Analyst