» ICDC: International Committee for Democracy in Cuba
The Assembly to promote Civil Society, Havana
2005-05-23 / Roisin Joyce
During their trip to Cuba, ICDC delegates Arnold Vaatz and Karel Schwarzenberg were scheduled to take part in the Assembly to Promote Civil Society from May 20-22, a pro-democracy forum for dissidents from both on and off the island. The assembly was organized by three opposition leaders – Martha Beatriz Rogue Cabello (an independent economist), Rene Gomez Manzano (a lawyer) and Felix Bonne Carcasses (a professor) and was one of the largest gatherings of opposition movements in Cuba in the past decade.
Approximately 200 representatives met and discussed the Cuban transition to democratic society in the yard of Felix Bonne’s house (as Castro would not permit them to carry out the Assembly in a theatre or hall). The two day meeting started on the day that, until the 1959 Revolution that put Castro in power, was celebrated as Cuba’s independence day. Representatives of the European Unio and the Japanese, Polish, Czech, Canadian and U.S embassies attended. Unfortunately, Mr Schwarzenberg and Mr Vaatz were deported the day before the Assembly took place and thus were unable to attend. Similarly, two Polish EU deputies were turned back at Havana airport and four Polish journalists planning to attend were detained by Cuban police on Friday 20.
© icdc 2005