Presentation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
In response to a petition to the Organization of American States by Mrs. Laida Carro, President of the Coalition of Cuban-American Women, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States granted an audience to members of the Coalition to hear several topics concerning important issues regarding Cuba. In October, 2004, Coalition members Lucretia Rodríguez, María Antonieta Lima, and Tanya Wilder, accompanied by John Suárez of and Joel Brito spoke in front of the Commissioners of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC. Their presentations included research on the Cuba's environmental problems, indoctrination within the Cuban educational system, the plight of women in Cuba, the violation of the rights of children in Cuba, and the violation of labor rights in the country. Following each presentation, commissioners from the panel asked questions of the presenters and offered their commentary on the issues on the table.
The program was very well-received, and members of the Coalition were interviewed by Voice of America after the meeting was adjourned.
Cuba, by virtue of its totalitarian government, is not a member of the Organization of American States; however, issues of human rights violations in any Latin American country are of interest to the Commission. Members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed concern about the unchanging nature of the totalitarian government in Cuba and stated they would convey those concerns to their governments.
After the meeting at the OAS, Coalition members visited the headquarters of the NAACP in Washington to leave updated information concerning Dr. Oscar Elías González with Mr. Hillary Shelton, Director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP. They again requested that the NAACP speak out on behalf of Dr. Biscet and all Cuban political prisoners. From there, the Coalition group went to meet with Mr. Mauricio Tamargo in his office. Mr. Tamargo expressed sincere interest and support for the Coalition's efforts and provided them with a copy of the government's recently compiled report the transition to democracy study for Cuba.
(Photos taken by Laida Carro - Left: Coalition panel: John Suárez, Joel Brito, Tanya Wilder, Lucretia Rodríguez, María Antonieta Lima / Right: Members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights)