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Cablegate: Slovak Activists On Cuba

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BRATISLAVA 000672

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV EAID LO CU
SUBJECT: SLOVAK ACTIVISTS ON CUBA

REFTEL: STATE 152813

The GOS is supportive of pressing for political change in Cuba
and working more closely with civil society leaders. In Slovakia,
there are NGOs and former political dissidents who frequently
speak out about human rights violations in Cuba. The following is
a list of organizations and individuals who have traveled to Cuba
and/or have contacts with Cuban civil society (as requested in
reftel):

-- Laszlo Nagy, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Human
Rights, Minorities, and the Status of Women. He participated in a
non-official parliamentary visit with Slovaks, Czechs, and Swedes
this spring. He frequently participates in public discussions and
makes statements in the press about events in Cuba. Nagy told
poloffs in April that he believes the world ignored Cuba in 1989
focusing instead on the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and
the Eastern Block and he would like to do more to help. He also
stated that the Cuban opposition is very evolved compared to the
pre-1989 Czechoslovak political situation and there is more
potential for their direct involvement in developing policy
frameworks for the future.

-- Kalman Petocz, Slovak Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. Petocz
is also very active on Cuba issues. Two years ago he mobilized a
vote in the UN that almost resulted in him begin recalled from
his position.

-- The Pontis Foundation, main contact: Lenka Surotchak. The
Pontis Foundation operates a program called the Institute for
Citizen Diplomacy, which brings speakers to Slovakia, supports
dissident networks, and fundraises for the dissident community in
Cuba. They helped to lead a petition drive for Oswald Paya to
receive a Nobel peace award, which was spearheaded by Nagy. Paya
also visited Slovakia last year through this program.

-- People in Need, main contact: Patrick Kosicky. The Slovak
branch of People in Need (based in the Czech Republic) operates a
Slovak Committee for Cuban Democracy and actively fundraises for
the families of dissidents. This organization mainly focuses on
raising awareness within the Slovak populace of human rights
violations in Cuba.

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