The ICDC was founded in September 2003 as a response to the latest brutal crackdown by the Cuban government in the spring of that year against those pushing for democratic reforms, freedom of speech and adherence to international human rights agreements. The ICDC is an organization that was created by prominent international political figures, diplomats and intellectuals from across Europe, the United States and Latin America who want to show political solidarity with fellow democracy activists in Cuba and channel economic support to Cuba’s democratic opposition. Our efforts have taken various forms.
The ICDC represents one body within a broader movement to bring democracy to Cuba as Castro’s dictatorship completes its fifth decade in power. Our mission began to take shape after the July 2003 Madrid conference “Towards Democracy in Cuba,” when Václav Havel encouraged nations to reach out to those working to bring freedom to Cuba. In response, the ICDC’s members have lobbied for political policies within national, regional and international government bodies that will protect Cuban dissidents, assist human rights initiatives, and call for more consistent approaches to dealing with the Castro regime. In addition, the ICDC has organized events, conferences, and meetings to help develop the various groups calling for change in Cuba into a more unified front and to give leading Cuban opposition leaders and political prisoners a chance to speak directly to the world about what life is really like on the island.
The ICDC’s secretariat operates through People in Need, a Czech nonprofit, non-governmental organization. People in Need is a major advocate of democratization, human rights and socio-economic development in the Czech Republic and abroad. In its fifteen years of existence, People in Need has administered over USD$55 million for projects in thirty-three countries around the globe. People in Need’s achievements have been officially recognized by the Czech Foreign Ministry’s Gratias Agit Award in 1997 and the Democracy and Civil Society Award in 1998 from the European Union and the US. Former Czech President Václav Havel, a long-term partner of People in Need, has also recognized the organization’s work in the field of human rights.
© icdc 2005
This project is supported by funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic through the Transition Promotion Program.