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New on the Freedom Collection: Regis Iglesias Ramirez
Vea esta entrada de blog en español aquí.Watch the new interview with Regis Iglesias Ramirez, a Cuban political and civil society activist and a former prisoner of conscience. He became a member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), a dissident group, in 1989. The MCL was founded by the late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died under mysterious circumstances in a car accident earlier this year. Regis became the MCL’s spokesman and a member of its leadership in 1996. He is a key activist of the Varela Project, a civil society initiative advocating for free elections and improved human rights in Cuba. The Varela Project gathered signatures from Cuban citizens in favor of a plebiscite, as permitted by the Cuban constitution. The communist government refused to call the plebiscite. As a teenager, Regis began to think as a dissident. He turned to the Catholic Church and rock music as outlets to express his rising resistance to the stultifying conditions in Cuba. He said, “Describing the situation in which a normal Cuban lives, grows, and dies is simple. They’re individuals who are completely dependent on the state for food and clothing, for acquiring shoes or finding employment, for getting paid for their work, coming in and out of the country, for having housing, a car, or a telephone or the Internet. Cubans are cut off from all freedoms. That is the life of an ordinary Cuban.” In 2003, Regis was among 75 nonviolent dissidents and activists arrested by the Cuban regime in what became known as the Black Spring. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but he reflected, “Prison is just another event that a human rights or civil rights activist is liable to go through when living under tyranny.” In 2010, he was released in a deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church and was sent into exile in Spain, where he remains as a political refugee. Regis speaks to the challenges faced by dissidents and freedom activists: “They’re not alone even when they’re thrown in a dark, isolated cell. All the people of good faith, all the free spirits of the world will be with them, and God will be with them as well.” Watch the interview with Regis Iglesias Ramirez here. Lindsay Lloyd is Program Director of the Freedom Collection
Lindsay Lloyd is the Deputy Director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, where he manages original research and programmatic efforts to advance freedom and democracy in the world. Lindsay currently leads the Bush Institute’s Freedom in North Korea project, which raises awareness of human rights violations in North Korea, proposes new policy solutions, and engages leaders to help improve the lives of the North Korean people. Lindsay is also responsible for managing the Freedom Collection, a multimedia archive that documents the stories of nonviolent freedom advocates from around the word.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Lindsay served for 16 years at the International Republican Institute (IRI), most recently as senior advisor for policy. Previously, he was IRI’s regional director for Europe and co-director of the regional program for Central and Eastern Europe, which was based in Slovakia. At IRI, Lindsay worked with candidates, elected officials, political parties, and civil society activists to develop lasting democratic institutions.
Before joining IRI, Lindsay worked for several members and the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, as political director for a political action committee, and for Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.Full Bio
Chinese Prisoner’s Death Holds a Message for Americans and China
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner died this week. His death holds a message for Americans and for China.
Release of Chinese Political Prisoner a Timely Reminder to Support Freedom Advocates Abroad
More than half the world’s population still lives in countries where basic political rights and civil liberties are only partly respected, if at all.
Bringing Freedom to the Forefront of 21st Century Politics
Is the global liberal democratic order in danger? Purposefully constructed in the aftermath of World War II, this order -- and the American leadership that is central to its success --has contributed to securing peace and expanding prosperity in the United States and around the world. Today, that order appears to be dissolving. This crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for several years. Global challenges like authoritarian capitalism, violent extremism, demographic pressures, and displaced populations have placed global freedom in decline. Fraying traditional alliances united by core values of freedom are increasingly weak to respond. It is alarming that the downdraft in democratic resilience over the past decade or more includes countries that have long been part of the consolidated democratic West. This is democratic deconsolidation. In much of the Western world, we see a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, protectionism, and waning conf
The Importance of Speaking Truth to Tyrants
What the president of the United States says matters. Even during the realpolitik policies of détente under Richard Nixon, it was still clear that American policy was based on a set of core values. Nixon’s practical goals of reaching deals with America’s adversaries was never based on the “great chemistry” with himself or praising the Soviet or Communist Chinese leadership doing a “fantastic job.” When the president aligns himself with the autocrats and dictators, he aligns America with their oppression. He sends a message that corruption and brutality are not our concern. Contrast that with how Ronald Reagan defied much of world opinion in calling out the brutality of the Soviet system. Natan Sharansky, then a refusenik imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, later wrote for the Weekly Standard of his thoughts on Reagan’s pronouncement that the USSR was an evil empire: “It was the great, brilliant moment whe