In July, the Trustees of the Center for a Free Cuba concluded its first meeting organized by its new Executive Director, John Suarez, in Miami. At the meeting, the Trustees affirmed the commitment of the Center to promoting a peaceful transition to a Cuba that respects human rights and political and economic freedom that continues to guide its work. The Center has an influential group of private sector supporters and works in partnership with democracy-promoting organizations.
Recent activities by the Center were reviewed. These include a silent vigil at the Cuban Embassy in Washington calling for justice for the 37 men, women, and children killed by government agents 25 years ago when they sank the "13 de Marzo" tugboat. On July 11, 2019, the new Executive Director testified before a congressional subcommittee on human rights in Cuba.
CFC scheduled and assisted Sirley Avila Leon, the Cuban human rights activist, who lost her hand due to a machete attack by Cuban government agents in 2015. She spoke to a group of teachers at an event organized by Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and met with other human rights organizations.
The Center distributes its CubaBrief which highlights important news on Cuba to our members, friends, media, Capitol Hill, and others.
Ambassador Otto J. Reich, President of the Center, on behalf of the trustees reaffirmed Mr. Suarez’s background and qualifications for his position as Executive Director.
Prior to joining the Center, Mr. Suarez was program officer for Latin America Programs at Freedom House, and earlier in his career worked as a program officer at the Center. He has more than a decade of experience working with dissident groups in Cuba and in providing badly needed support in this challenging environment.
At this moment of economic crisis and increased repression in Cuba, the continued commitment of the Center in support of civil society on the island is urgent.