From Communism to Democracy

From Communism to Democracy


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From Communism to Democracy
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Florida International University
Ackerman, Holly ( donor )
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University of Florida
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Full Text

A Forum Featuring His Excellency

Vaclav Havel
President of the Czech Republic

Monday, September 23, 2002
9:45 to 11:45 a.m.
Graham Center Ballroom


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VACLAV HAVEL Vaclav Havel, an outspoken champion of Czechoslovakian
culture who publicly protested its suppression by the communist government,
rose from the ranks of playwright and essayist to internationally recognized
proponent of social and political change. He came to prominence with his
support of the "Prague Spring" reform movement of 1968 and subsequent
leadership of the growing anti-communist movement of the late 1970s. For
the latter, he was arrested three times and spent five years behind bars.
Havel gained increasing attention from the international community during
Czechoslovakia's 1989 struggle for freedom, which came to be known as
the "Velvet Revolution," a series of civic uprisings and general social
upheaval from which popular elections emerged.
Havel twice was voted president of Czechoslovakia. After the 1992 reor-
ganization of the country into two independent states, he resigned his post
and the following year was elected president of the newly formed Czech
Republic. He leaves office later this year.

RICARDO BOFILL A graduate in History & Social Sciences from the University
of Havana, Ricardo Bofill was first arrested in 1967 and sentenced to 12 years
in prison as part of the case known as "The Microfaction Conspiracy." Released
in 1976, Bofill founded the Cuban Committee for Human Rights (CCPDH), the
first independent human rights organization in Cuba and the original stem from
which all other groups that form the modern Human Rights Movement eventu-
ally sprouted. Imprisoned several times (1980-82, 1983-85), and continually
harassed by the regime, he left Cuba for exile in Miami in 1988. Ricardo Bofill
is president of the Havana based CCPDH, vice president of the International
Society of Human Rights based in Germany, and executive director of the Elena
Mederos Foundation.

CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER Carlos Alberto Montaner was born in
Havana, Cuba. He is an essayist, novelist and journalist. He has been a
University professor and lecturer in several institutions of Latin America and
the United States. He is the author of about fifteen titles, among which are,
Doscientos Afios de Gringos, La Agonfa de Am6rica, Libertad, La Clave de la
Prosperidad, No Perdamos Tambi&n el Siglo XXI and Viaje al Coraz6n de Cuba.
He is coauthor of Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano and of
Fabricantes de Miseria. He has published the novels Trama and Perromundo.
His works have been translated into English, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.
His journalistic column is published weekly in several dozens of newspapers in
Latin America, Spain and the United States. He has lived in Madrid from 1970.
He is vice-president of the Liberal International and is the founder and
Chairman of the Uni6n Liberal Cubana.

MARIFELI PEREZ-STABLE MariFeli P6rez-Stable is a professor of Sociology and
Anthropology at FIU. The main focus of her research is Twentieth-century Cuba. She
has published widely on the Cuban Revolution and on the island's experience before
and after 1959. In Cuba's Long Twentieth-Century, 1868-2000, she is developing a
reinterpretation of Cuban politics. With Ford-Foundation support, she chairs a task
force on Cuban historical memory and a prospective national reconciliation. Both
projects are comparative: the first, with the paths of democracy and dictatorship,
state and national formation, and social revolutions in Latin America; the second,
regarding truth and memory issues in the "third wave" of democratization that
began in the early 1980s. Another project is a book on Cuba-U.S. relations after the
cold war. Dr. P6rez-Stable has written some 20-opinion pieces for U.S., Latin
American, and Spanish newspapers.

TOMAS POJAR Tomas Pojar has worked as the executive director of the People in
Need Foundation since November 1997. In this capacity, he has overseen humani-
tarian aid projects, human rights, and advocacy projects in more than 20 countries,
including the current project in Afghanistan.

JAIME SUCHLICKI Jaime Suchlicki, is a professor and Director of the Institute for
Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. He specializes in Latin
American affairs, with special emphasis on Cuba, Mexico, and U.S. relations with the
region. He has published articles in Orbis, Latin American Research Review, Journal
of Inter American Studies and World Affairs, and Caribbean Studies. His published
books include Cuba: From Columbus to Castro (1997), Mexico: From Montezuma to
NAFTA (1996), Historical Dictionary of Cuba (1985), and University Students and
Revolution in Cuba (1969). Together with Irving Louis Horowitz, he is the editor of
Cuban Communism (1998). He is currently the Latin American editor for Transaction
Publishers and a consultant to the government and the private sector.

MODERATOR: RALPH S. CLEM Ralph S. Clem is the Director of the Center for
Transnational and Comparative Studies and Professor of International Relations at
FIU. The mission of the Center for Transnational and Comparative Studies (TCS) is
to enhance the University's teaching, research and outreach activities involving both
area studies and transnational, thematic areas of concentration, such as migration,
crime, environmental, and global economic issues. Since it was founded in 1999,
TCS has garnered over $1.2 million in external funding, including major grants to
establish the Miami European Union Center (jointly with the University of Miami) and
to expand the Asian Studies program. The author or co-author of several books and
numerous scholarly articles, his research interests focus on contemporary Russian
politics and the role of the US military in world affairs. Prof. Clem is also the editor
of the academic journal Eurasian Geography and Economics.


Mark B. Rosenberg, Provost and Executive Vice President, FlU

Tomas Pojar, Executive Director, People in Need Foundation

Voices from the Island of Freedom

Modesto A. Maidique, President, FlU

Vaclav Havel, President, Czech Republic

Moderator: Ralph S. Clem, Director, Center for Transnational and
Comparative Studies, FlU

Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, Coordinator, Movimiento Cristiano Liberaci6n
Read by Francisco de Armas

His Excellency Vaclav Havel President, Czech Republic
Ricardo Bofill Founder, Cuban Committee for Human Rights .
Carlos Alberto Montaner Cuban writer and journalist
Marifeli P6rez-Stable Professor, Florida International University
Tomas Pojar Executive Director, People in Need Foundation
Jaime Suchlicki Professor, University of Miami

1972 2002

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