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May 20

Solidarity with the People of Cuba: The Struggle for Freedom Continues

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Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

May 20th marks the 108th year of Cuba's achievement of independence from its Spanish overlords.  Yet, the struggle to realize the full blessings of independence in a modern world so fiercely desired by the Cuban people remains incomplete.  Individual rights and liberties, the touchstones of modern democratic society, are callously and routinely denied by a communist dictatorship that has ruled the island with absolute authority for over 50 years.  Rights of speech, travel, association, and access to information as well basic economic freedoms are withheld in ways inconsistent with universal values and fundamental human rights.  For this reason, May 20 remains a day closely associated with the thwarted aspirations and shattered hopes of the Cuban people, especially for those who courageously resist the regime's cruel and arbitrary demands for obedience and silence.  

In May 2008 people around the world observed the first Solidarity Day with Cuba - the purpose of which was to "shine a bright light on the Castro regime's abuses" and "call on the Government of Cuba to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience."  In Miami, then presidential candidate Barack Obama called upon Cuba to begin ushering in a new era in relations by taking "significant steps toward democracy, beginning with freeing all political prisoners."  The political and human rights situation in Cuba under the control of the Castros remains unchanged.

This Heritage Foundation event will reiterate the urgent need for the release of political prisoners and discuss the importance of fostering stronger ties with the people of Cuba yearning for freedom and a democratic way of life.  It will offer practical recommendations on steps that everyone in the U.S., from the grassroots to the Oval Office, can take to demonstrate solidarity and support for Cubans seeking the liberties and rights accorded those who are genuinely free.

More About the Speakers


Bertha Antúnez
Sister of prominent dissident Cuban activist
Jorge Luis "Antúnez" Garcia Paz


Ambassador Lino Gutierrez
Former Ambassador to Argentina and Nicaragua
and Senior Advisor on Cuba
to Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez 

Adolfo Franco
Former Assistant Administrator,
Agency for International Development

Mauricio Claver-Carone
U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee

Hosted By

Ray Walser, Ph.D. Ray Walser, Ph.D.

Senior Policy Analyst Read More