Saturday, February 25, 2006


COALITION ARCHIVE: Coalition of Cuban-American Women: Meeting with the NAACP
NAACP Convention, July, 2003, Miami, FL

The third week of July, 2003, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its annual national convention in Miami. In November, 2002, members of the Executive Board of the NAACP had traveled to Cuba and met with dissidents on the island, including Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet González, a Black Cuban physician recognized for his call for non-violent call for a transition to democracy in Cuba. Shortly after the delegation's visit, Dr. Biscet was arrested by the Cuban government and placed in prison on the island.

In an effort to lobby support and solidarity from the NAACPfor all Cuban political prisoners, especially since important members of that organization had met with Dr. Biscet during their visit to Cuba and pledged their support, members of the Coalition arranged for a special presentation about treatment of Black Cubans to prominent members of the NAACP's governing board. Those people included Mr. Kwesi Mfume, CEO, Mr. Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, Mr. Nelson Rivers, and the entire delegation from the NAACP who had traveled to Cuba and met with Dr. Biscet attended the session.

Coalition members, Laida Carro, Tanya Wilder, and María Luisa Abréu. were accompanied by Berta Mexidor (who addressed treatment of Black women in Cuba and represented the Independent Librarians' movement on the island), José Bridón ( recently arrived from Cuba who spoke about the experiences of Black laborers), and Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román (an ex-political prisoner whose emotional testimony about the horrendous treatment he received in Castro's prisons visibly shocked the NAACP delegation.)
(Above photo: Tanya Wilder, Laida Carro, Kwesi Mfume, María Luisa Abréu, Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román, Berta Mexidor, José Bridón)

Although the officials of the NAACP seemed interested in the information presented by the Coalition and its guests, there has been little or no follow-up to a petition presented by the Coalition requesting that the organization speak out on against the Cuban government' s treatment of political prisoners and call for their immediate release.

Another event scheduled during the NAACP Convention took place later in the evening when close to 100 people gathered outside the Miami Convention Center during a peaceful vigil to protest treatment of Cuban political prisoners. (See photos to the right and below) Various members of the Cuban community gathered in silence to show solidarity on behalf of all Cuban political prisoners. Several individuals spoke of their experiences in prison, and to conclude, the group joined together in singing the Cuban national anthem.

Among those in attendance from the Coalition at the vigil were María Luisa Abréu, Moraima Fernández,Manuela Calvo, Laida Carro, and Tanya Wilder.

(ABOVE : Photo # 1: {left to right} Tanya Wilder, Laida Carro, Kwesi Mfume, María Luisa Abreu, Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román, Berta Mexidor, José Bridón / Photo #2: María Luisa Abreu, Manuela Calvo / Photo # 3: Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román, ex-political prisoner)

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