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Dagoberto Valdes (Cuba) nominated by ICDC members for the John Humphrey Freedom Award

2006-04-14 / Roisin Joyce

ICDC members and international NGOs submitted their nomination of Dagoberto Valdes for the John HUmphrey Freedom Award (Canada) on May 13th 2006. Dagoberto Valdes and the organization he founded and runs, the Centre for Civil and Religious Education and Vitral magazine, were nominated for their dedication to the protection of human rights and the development of democracy. The award, presented each year to recognize exceptional achievement in the promotion of human rights and democratic development, consists of a grant of $25,000, as well as a speaking tour of Canadian cities to help increase awareness of the recipient’s human rights work.

The nomination was supported by ICDC members Vaclav Havel (former president, Czech Republic); luis Alberto Lacalle (former president, Uruguay); Rexhap Meidani (former president, Albania) and Cecilia Malmstrom (MEP, Sweden). Supporting NGOs included people in Need (Czech Republic), People in Peril (Slovakia), Freedom House (Hungary), Swedish International Liberal Centre (Sweden) and Pax Christi (Netherlands).

Dagoberto Valdes was nominated as he is considered a strong example of activism and civic involvement in Cuba. Dagoberto Valdes has devoted his life to providing space on the island to speak and associate freely and uncensored by the regime through the establishment of both his center and magazine. Mr Valdes has been recognized for his work by Pope John Paul, who appointed him to the Pontificial Council of Justice and Peace in 1999 and by Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic.  

Established in 1993, the CFCR brings together individuals on a weekly basis for uncensored discussion, educational courses and seminars on issues otherwise suppressed by the state. The Center is unregistered and illegal in the eyes of the regime. Mr Valdes also founded Vitral magazine in the same year to provide an open forum for essays, articles and critique focusing on aspects of religion, civil society and politics. The magazine is made in basic conditions in the local diocese offices yet now has a readership of over 6000.

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