Cuban activists testify at United Nations

GENEVA, November 14, 2023 – UN Watch, in collaboration with Cuba Decide and Center for a Free Cuba, hosted an event at the United Nations on the human rights situation in Cuba on the eve of Cuba’s Universal Periodic Review session at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The impressive list of speakers included:


John Suarez, the Executive Director at the Center for a Free Cuba. Mr. Suarez was previously program officer for Latin America Programs at Freedom House and has been interviewed by TV, radio and print media on the human rights situation in Cuba. He has testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington DC, the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and served as an interpreter for Cuban dissidents in Congressional hearings. Since 2009 he has maintained the blog Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.


Rosa Maria Paya, Cuban pro-democracy activist and daughter of assassinated Cuban civic leader Oswaldo Paya. A recipient of the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize and a five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Oswaldo Paya was a leading member of the Cuban opposition murdered in 2012 in a car accident determined to have been orchestrated by the Castro regime.


Sirley Avila Leon, Cuban democracy activist and former delegate of the People’s Assembly of Majibacoa in Cuba. After speaking out on state repression to foreign media, she was nearly killed in a machete attack.


Janisset Rivero, Cuban human rights activist. Born in Cuba, Ms. Rivero went into exile in Venezuela with her family as a teenager, before moving to Miami in 1990. She presented Cuba’s struggle for freedom and democracy at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva and at OAS’s Inter American Commission for Human Rights in Washington, DC on numerous occasions. Her Op-eds have been published in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and US newspapers.


Anamely Ramos Gonzalez, Cuban activist, professor, and art curator. Ms. Ramos Gonzalez has worked alongside Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Michael Sorbo in the defenses of human rights, artisitic freedoms, and the release of political prisoners. She has been denied her right to return home to Cuba since February 16th, 2022.


Yunier Suarez Rodriguez, Cuban human rights defender and artist. Through theater, Mr. Suarez Rodriguez has exposed the mechanisms of repression and violence employed by the Cuban dictatorship.


UN Watch