Journalists, human rights activists receive the 2012 “Boitel Award”

The below is a release from Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.


August 2, 2012

Event Recap: “Pro-Democracy Movements in Totalitarian States”

WASHINGTON, DC- The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, in conjunction with the International Republican Institute and the Center for Freedom and Democracy, hosted an event this afternoon entitled “Pro-Democracy Movements in Totalitarian States.”

Congressman Diaz-Balart, Congressman Sires, Congressman Diaz-Balart, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, and Congressman Rivera

Offered remarks: Mauricio Claver-Carone, Cuba Democracy Advocates, András Bácsi-Nagy, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Hungary,Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat, Cuban Democratic Directorate (Directorio), Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, White Rose Institute

Featured Panelists: Janisset Rivero, Directorio, Berta Antunez, Rosa Parks Feminist Movement, John Suarez, Directorio, Sylvia Iriondo, M.A.R. por Cuba, Marc Wachtenheim, Center for Freedom and Democracy, Horacio Garcia, Proyecto Pro Cambio, Carlos Ponce, General Coordinator, Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, Frank Calzon, Center for a Free Cuba, Anibal Cabrera, Grupo Internacional de Solidaridad Social Corporativa, Darsi Ferrer, MD, Recently exiled Cuban dissident leader

Key activists in Cuba were honored by Members of Congress and the Senate for having received The Annual Boitel Award. Alongside Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Congressman David Rivera (R-FL) were there to honor them.


1.      Julio Columbié Batista, was very involved in collecting signatures for the Varela project and emerged as a pioneer of public protests against Cuban prisons. He is the founding Director of the National Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Orlando Zapata Tamayo Front and just a short time later restructured the historic Pedro Luis Boitel National Civic Resistance Movement.

2.      Blás Augusto Fortún Martínez, spent time in a forced labor camp in his late teens, afterward becoming involved with the Cuban Nationalist Movement Party and then with the Pedro Luis Boitel National Civic Resistance Movement. He continues to play an important part in public protests all over the country.

3.      Damaris Moyas Portieles, Co-President of the Central Opposition Coalition in Villa Clara and chairwoman of the Rosa Parks Women’s Movement for Civil Rights.  She has become well known for her role organizing hunger strikes and standing by her principles.

4.      Donaida Pérez Paseiro, first became linked to the opposition in 2007 as a freelance journalist.  Joined the Independent Press Agency Laureles Press and was involved in the start of the National Front and the Rosa Parks Movement.

5.      Marta Díaz Rondón, one of the main coordinators of the Eastern Democratic Alliance and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance Front.  She is a Dama de Blanco and Vice Chair of the Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement.

6.      Jorge Olivera Castillo, writer, poet, editor and television journalist, he joined the opposition in 1993 and initially worked as part of the Independent Union Confederation of Democratic Workers of Cuba (CTDC). Beginning in 1999 and up until his arrest during the Black Spring of 2003, he was the director of the independent news agency Habana Press.  He was released in 2004 on medical parole due to health issues. Currently he is an independent journalist and president of the Writers’ Club Cuba, an entity that seeks to open a space for all Cuban writers committed to the defense of freedom of creation.