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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
A MESSAGE FROM THE CUBAN PEOPLE
Sister of prominent dissident Cuban activist
Jorge Luis "Antúnez" Garcia Paz
COMMENTARY - MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE IN
Ambassador Lino Gutierrez
Former Ambassador to Argentina and Nicaragua
and Senior Advisor on Cuba
to Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez
Former Assistant Administrator,
Agency for International Development
U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee
Ray Walser, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Analyst