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ICDC delegates Karel Schwarzenberg and Arnold Vaatz expelled from Cuba

2005-05-20 / Roisin Joyce

On May 19th, ICDC delegates Karel Schwarzenberg and Arnold Vaatz were seized by police, taken to the airport and deported from the country before the completion of their trip and their attendence at the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, a rare pro-democracy conference.

Mr Schwarzenberg and Mr Vaatz, acting as representatives of the ICDC, traveled to Cuba to express the ICDCs support for democratic dissent on the island and to subsequently report to other members of the committee regarding the situation on the island. They were due to address a meeting of pro-democracy dissidents opposed to the authoritarian rule of Fidel Castro on May 20. However, on May 19, after the delegates returned to their hotel rooms, they were met by representatives of the Ministry of the Interior who confiscated their passports, prohibited any phone calls and were ordered to accompany them to the Immigration Office so as to provide an explanation of their trip. There was no reason provided for their detention and they were denied phone calls to their embassies. However, the delegates were instead taken directly to the airport at which they were swiftly deported from the country.

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