Experts and Speakers

Dr. Pedro V. Roig
Dr. Pedro V. Roig is director of the "Office of Cuba Broadcasting" in the American "International Broadcasting Bureau". This US-American agency is among others responsible for the operation of several US-broadcasting stations abroad. Dr. Roig is responsible for the emission of Radio Martí and TV Martí. These broadcasting stations are built up on the model of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and should contribute to a democratic change in Cuba by supplying the Cuban population with non-state controlled news. For many Cubans they are the only chance to obtain independent information.
Frank Calzon
Frank Calzon, journalist and political scientist, is a former member of Freedom House. Since 1997 he heads the "Center for a Free Cuba", which he founded. It steps in for the concerns of Cuban dissidents.



Ramon Colas
Ramon Colas is a well-known Cuban dissident and founder of the organisation "Independent Libraries for Cuba". He was an activist of the pro-democracy movement until he had to leave the country due to political persecution. Together with his wife he founded the first network of independent librarians in Cuba in order to break the Cuban government's information monopoly.
Sylvia Iriondo
Sylvia Iriondo is president of the non-governmental organisation "Mothers and Women against Repression" (M.A.R.) based in Miami and Puerto Rico. M.A.R. fights for the democratisation of her home country. Sylvia Iriondo was born on January 26th 1945 in Havana, Cuba. One year after Fidel Castro came into power in 1959 her family left Cuba and emigrated to the United States of America as political refugees in 1960. She already started working for a refugee organisation which supported Cuban refugees while she was still in school. Until today she steps in for the concerns of Cuban refugees and politically haunted.
Erika Steinbach
Erika Steinbach, MdB (CDU), is spokeswoman for human rights policies of the CDU/CSU-Fraction and president of the "Bund der Vertriebenen". She also commits her work for the establishment of a centre against displacement in Berlin.
Holger Haibach
Holger Haibach, MdB (CDU), is deputy chairman of the Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German Bundestag. Since 2002 he represents the electoral district of Hochtaunus in the German Bundestag
Michael Gahler
Michael Gahler (CDU) is a Member of the European Parliament since 1999. Among others he represents south- and west Hessia's interests and is a member of the Sub-Committee for Human Rights as well as Vice President of the Committee on Development. Furthermore he is the first deputy chairman of the delegation Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) in the European Parliament. He commits his work to the protection of human rights, especially in countries like Cuba, Iran or China.
Manuel Vázquez Portal
Manuel Vázquez Portal is a Cuban writer and poet who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature twice. In the period from 1984 to 1993 Vasquez won three official prizes before he was banned from the National Union of Writers because of his political beliefs. In 1998 he founded the "working group dignity", an independent news agency which dedicates its work to primarily cultural and literary topics. During the wave of imprisonments Vasquez was arrested on March 19th 2003 and sentenced to 18 years of prison for "endangerment of state independence". But he was released in 2004 because of his critical health condition and now lives in exile.
Huber Matos
The teacher and then 34-year old Huber Matos became part of the Cuban Revolution and fought at the side of Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl. Even though he was one of the closest confidants to the Castro brothers and one of the most important Cuban generals, the liberal Democrat began to doubt the Cuban Revolution's success and decided to resign from his government post. Thereupon he was accused of treason and imprisoned. He was not sentenced to death because Fidel Castro was afraid that he could turn into a martyr. After 20 years of prison where he was tortured, Huber Matos followed his family that lives in exile in Miami. Since then he is active in Cuba's democracy movement. His biography "Cómo llegó la noche" ("How Night Fell") is censored in Cuba.
Laida Carro
Laida Carro is a human rights activist from Cuba who lives in US-American exile. She is president of the 'Coalition of Cuban-American Women' which she founded. This organisation works for the interests of political prisoners in Cuba by raising awareness for the human rights violations in Cuba. Laida Carro took part in the Cuba Conference together with her husband José Carro.
César L. Alarcón
César L. Alarcón is president of the "Movimiento Cubano Unidad Democrática" (M.C.U.D.) , the Cuban Movement for Democratic Unity. This organisation works for the establishment of a democratic Cuban state which respects fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens. It explicitly fights for the right to freedom of opinion.
Annette Schwarzbauer
Annette Schwarzbauer works for the Berlin based Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation. Currently she is a member of the Latin America team and her focus is on the human rights situation in Cuba. She has a very good relationship to the Latin American states as she has worked for the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Bolivia before. Today she mostly works for a democratic change in Cuba.
Igor Bla?evič
Igor Bla?evič is member of the Czech human rights organisation "People in Need" which fights for the respect for human rights worldwide since 12 years. Furthermore he organises the One World Human Rights Film Festival in Prague since 1998, which annually shows new documentaries, short films, retrospectives and movies to the topic of human rights. Additionally, discussions, workshops, concerts and exhibitions take place.



Liduine Zumpolle
Liduine Zumpolle is coordinator of the Latin America Programme of the Christian organisation Pax Christi, Netherlands. Furthermore she is founding member of the Netherland based NGO Cuba Futuro which cooperates with other European organisations which are committed to raising awareness for the fate of the Cuban population
Milan Nič
Milan Nič is expert for Cuba in Pontis Foundation, a Slovakian NGO based in Bratislava, which among others supports development of civil society in young democracies. He works on a programme to promote a democratic change in Cuba and Belarus.
Yolanda Huerga Cedeno
Yolanda Huerga Cedeno, the founding member of the "Ladies in White", is Manuel Vázquez Portal's wife. Her husband is the famous Cuban writer and poet who was imprisoned because of his political views. While he was in prison Huerga fought for his release, wrote open letters and documented her husband's situation. Until today she fights for the release of prisoners of conscious in Cuba. The "Ladies in White" are an association of wives, daughters, mothers and sisters of political prisoners. They peacefully demonstrate for the release of their family members and were awarded the European Parliament?s Sakharov Prize in 2005.