Dec 9, 2011

News

Late Cuban activist Laura Pollán to be Honored at Capitol Hill event Dec. 14

National Endowment for Democracy will recognize Ladies in White leader with
Democracy Service Medal

For Immediate Release
Date: December 9, 2011
Contact: Jane Riley Jacobsen, jane@ned.org, (202) 378-9700

WASHINGTON, DC -- Laura Pollán, the late founder of Cuba’s Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco), will be honored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at a Capitol Hill event with a posthumous presentation of NED’s Democracy Service Medal. Pollán died on October 14 of this year.

The presentation will take place 5:30 pm in the House Foreign Affairs Committee Room (Rayburn HOB 2172) and both the committee chairman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and ranking member Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) will make remarks, as well as several other members of Congress, including Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Rep. David Rivera (R-FL).

The Medal will be accepted on behalf of the Ladies in White by Yolanda Huerga, a representative of the group who is based in Miami. Another event highlight will be a performance by Latin Grammy award winner Amaury Gutierrez, who will sing his beautiful tribute ballad to Laura Pollán.

“Laura is gone, but her memory lives on in the hearts of Cubans,” said NED president Carl Gershman. “ Her example of dedication to justice inspires others to fight on. The purity of her motives, the strength of her character, the depth of her integrity, and the force of her fearlessness will light the way forward. Her legacy will help Cubans build a new morality after more than half a century of political bondage, poisonous hatred, and dehumanizing lies.”

The medal presentation will be preceded by a panel discussion at 4:00 p.m.: The Legacy of Laura Pollán: the Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights in Cuba. Panelists include: Jose Luis García Paneque, Yesinia Alvarez, Pablo Diaz, Janisset Rivera and Barbara Joe, and will be moderated by NED’s Miriam Kornblith.

The Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy created its Democracy Service Medal to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the progress of democracy around the world. Past awardees include Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Congressman Tom Lantos and the Dalai Lama.

This event is open to the media. Interested journalists should register with Jane Riley Jacobsen by e-mail jane@ned.org or 202-378-9700.