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Focusing on Human Rights, Democracy and Freedom in Cuba

Recorded on May 1, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Since February 24, when Raul Castro formally replaced Fidel Castro as Cuba's head of state, Havana has launched a flurry of changes that promise Cubans the opportunity to purchase computers and cell phones, earn pay incentives, own property,  visit previously off-limit hotels and reportedly travel abroad without government approval.  Are these serious changes in the Cuban economy or cosmetic fixes?  Will Cubans actually be freer?  Can these reforms address the morass of the Cuban economy?  On May 21, President Bush will urge the friends of freedom and human rights in Cuba to speak about continued oppression of the Cuban people.  Our speakers will review recent developments in Cuba and preview plans for May 21.

Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart has served in the House since 1993, is one of the legislative architects of current laws governing relations with Cuba and a member of the powerful House Rules Committee.  Ambassador Lino Gutierrez is Senior Advisor on Cuba to Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez; a former Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador Gutierrez served as the U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua and Argentina.  Caleb McCarry has been Cuba Transition Coordinator at the Department of State since 2005 and has a distinguished career in the field of democracy promotion.