Human rights activists will give symposium on Cuba

The Evergreen Arts and Humanities Series (EAHS) at Washington State Community College will welcome a panel of world-renowned human rights activists to the college’s campus for an upcoming symposium on Cuba. The symposium will highlight human rights abuses on the island nation of Cuba and will take place over the course of three days, April 18 to 20. As all of the panelists are experts on the current situation in Cuba, the small island nation will be the focus of the discussion; however, the presenters will emphasize the importance of human rights activism in all parts of the world.

Three leading experts on human rights related issues in Cuba have been slated for the panel discussion on Saturday, April 20: Laida Carro, John Suarez, and Anna Lee. Lead panelist Carro, founder and President of the Coalition for Cuban-American Women, is one of the most prominent activists in the world regarding the documentation and dissemination of human rights violations in Cuba. She left Cuba at the age of 14 after Fidel Castro came into power. Her involvement with human rights issues began with her advocacy for Dr. Oscar El’as Biscet, a Cuban physician who was imprisoned for calling for respect for human rights on the island. During her 15-year tenure as an activist, she has collaborated with various organizations, including the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, to name a few. She has represented the Cuban people in summits throughout the European Union and in Central America.

Suarez, who recently gave the closing remarks at the 5th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, is the International Relations Secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate (DDC). Su’rez is highly regarded for his work with people who remain on the island, as well as ex-political prisoners who live in exile. His has extensive expertise in current dissident and opposition movements in Cuba. Suarez also currently runs “Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter”, a blog dedicated to circulating information and promoting the exchange of ideas about human rights issues on the island.

Lee currently works closely with individuals in Cuba who are subjected to religious persecution. As a representative of the international organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), her work focuses on documenting lack of religious freedom in Cuba, as well as promoting religious tolerance and freedoms globally.

On Thursday, April 18, the panelists will be available to meet with classes on WSCC’s campus. The panel presentation will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in Graham Auditorium at WSCC’s campus. The event is free and open to the public. To reserve seat passes in advance, call or email Tanya Wilder at (740) 374-8716 / twilder@wscc.edu.