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ICDC members and European NGOs nominate Dagoberto Valdes (Cuba) for the John Humphrey Freedom Award

2006-04-25 / Roisin Joyce

In April 2006, ICDC members alongside representatives of European and international NGOs nominated Dagoberto Valdes, Cuban activist, for the John Humphrey Freedom Award. Mr Valdes, and the organizations he founded and runs (the Center for Civil and Religious Education and Vitral magazine) were selected by the ICDC as he represents one of the most important examples of activism and civic involvement in Cuba.

The nomination was supported by the following ICDC members: Luis Alberto Lacalle, President of Uruguay (1990-1995); Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Rexhep Meidani, former president of the Rupublic of Albania (1997-2002); Vaclav Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia (1989-2003) and Cecilia Malmstrom, Swedish MEP. Supporting NGOs were
People in Need, Czech Republic; People in Peril, Slovakia; Freedom House, Hungary; Swedish International Liberal Center, Sweden; Pax Christi, Netherlands.  

Few speak out against the Cuban regime yet Dagoberto Valdes has chosen to engage in a constant and eloquent critique of the Castro regime. 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 the Civic and Religious Training Center (CFCR) and Vitral 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.

In 1993, he founded Vitral, a magazine of essays and articles on the prevalent issues, religious or otherwise, in Cuba. In response, all of those involved in the magazine lost their jobs.Nevertheless, his belief in the right of all Cubans to speak freely, to associate freely and to have access to information has driven him to continue his work. Vitral magazine is now one of the leading opposition magazine in Cuba.
Established in 1993, the CFCR brings individuals together on a weekly basis for uncensored discussion, educational courses and seminars on issues otherwise suppressed by the state. Participants have the opportunity to learn about and subsequently voice their opinions in an open manner on issues such as human rights, international law, civic rights and representative democracy. The Center is unregistered and illegal in the eyes of the regime.

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