Late Cuban activist to be honoured at Washington event

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WASHINGTON, USA — Laura Pollan, the late founder of Cuba’s Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco), will be honoured by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on Wednesday at a Capitol Hill event with a posthumous presentation of NED’s Democracy Service Medal. Pollan died on October 14 of this year.

The presentation will take place in the House Foreign Affairs Committee Room and both the committee chairman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and ranking member Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) will make remarks, as well as several other members of Congress.

The Medal will be accepted on behalf of the Ladies in White by Yolanda Huerga , a representative of the group, which is based in Miami. Another event highlight will be a performance by Latin Grammy award winner Amaury Gutierrez, who will sing his beautiful tribute ballad to Laura Pollan.

"Laura is gone, but her memory lives on in the hearts of Cubans," said NED president Carl Gershman. “Her example of dedication to justice inspires others to fight on. The purity of her motives, the strength of her character, the depth of her integrity, and the force of her fearlessness will light the way forward. Her legacy will help Cubans build a new morality after more than half a century of political bondage, poisonous hatred, and dehumanizing lies."

The medal presentation will be preceded by a panel discussion: The Legacy of Laura Pollan: The Struggle for Democracy and Human Rights in Cuba.

The board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy created its Democracy Service Medal to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the progress of democracy around the world. Past awardees include Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Congressman Tom Lantos and the Dalai Lama.

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