Cuban opposition leaders and activists Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Guillermo Fariñas, and Berta Soler will take part in civil-society events at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, according to the Miami-based Cuban Soul Foundation.
The foundation — which promotes independent Cuban artists and musicians — is hosting, together with the Human Rights Foundation in Cuba and the Panama campus of Florida State University, a conference titled The Road Ahead in the Fight for Human Rights on April 8.
Independent journalist Myriam Celaya and philologist Yusmila Reyna Ferrer, a member of Cuba’s Patriotic Union, UNPACU, will also take part with Soler and Saily Navarro, both representing the Ladies in White, in a panel discussion on women’s human-rights activism. Celaya, Reyna, and Soler participated last week in a similar conference at Florida International University.
Blogger Henry Constantin and UNPACU activist Amel Oliva will discuss with Morúa, leader of Arco Progresista, and Fariñas, representative of the United Anti-Totalitarian Forum, new strategies to promote human rights in Cuba.
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Yoani Sánchez, a blogger and editor of the digital newspaper 14ymedio, announced last week that she expects to attend as a journalist.
Cuban rappers and young promoters of independent art in Cuba, some of them members of the Pro-Free Art Association — among them David Escalona, Michel Matos, and Soandres del Río — will present their experience on a panel on freedom of expression, which will include artist Tania Bruguera, if Cuban authorities allow her to travel.
“I will speak on behalf of those who want to be independent and wish to remain in Cuba but do not find it possible due to obstacles by the Cuban government,” said Escalona, a musician and visual artist known as David D’Omni.
The Cuban government, which will participate in the summit for the first time, has summoned 300 organizations to represent the civil society it considers “real.” The Cuban official delegation to the summit is expected to be large.
The Cuban media are denouncing the participation of Cuban opposition leaders and activists as “provocations” and “anti-Cuban plots.”
“We’re not going in a mood of confrontation,” said rapper Raudel Collazo. “We’re going to say the same things we have said in other occasions. How we see and how we feel our reality. The same discourse our hip-hip has held for years.”
Cuba, U.S. to launch human rights dialogue Tuesday
(AP) — Cuba and the United States will debate human rights at a meeting in Washington on Tuesday in another sign of the thaw between the countries as they try to re-establish normal diplomatic relations after a 50-year freeze.
The discussions seem unlikely to lead to short-term changes in the way either country views rights issues. The U.S. is expected to press Cuba to allow its citizens greater freedom of speech, assembly, and political activity. Cuba likely will respond with its own critiques of poverty, insufficient healthcare coverage, and excessive police force in the United States.
But observers say even the start of a dialogue is an indication of progress in the countries’ broader move to normalize relations.