The conference was called "Building Cuba's Future: Progress and Proposals" and was held in the Hotel Crowne Plaza of Santo Domingo only a few days before the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States took place in the same location.
The activities were moderated by Hernán Alberro, Programs Director of CADAL and accompanied by former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla and the Cuban activists Laritza Diversent, Manuel Cuesta Morúa and Victor Manuel Domínguez.
During the event, Laritza Diversent from the Legal Information Centre Cubalex, explained in detail the proposals that her organisation had developed with regards to freedom of association, of assembly and the electoral laws.
Laritza Diversent has a law degree from the University of Havana and is the director of the Legal Information Centre Cubalex, a non-profit organisation founded in 2010. Its members are law experts and human rights defenders who are active in the field of providing representation and consultation pro bono for the Cuban population in matters of legal conflicts and the investigation of violations of human rights. Recently, the organisation participated at hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Furthermore, the Legal Information Centre Cubalex has assumed an active attendance at the Universal System allowing it to use instruments and resources that promote and defend human rights more efficiently.
Manuel Cuesta Morúa, spokesperson for Arco Progresista, referred to his work which he is doing with #Otro18 and with Mesa de Unidad para la Acción Democrática.
Cuesta Morúa is a historian, political scientist and essayist. He is the founder of the Partido Arco Progresista which is inspired by and promotes the values of social democracy. Between 1986 and 1991 he worked in various institutions like, for example, "La Casa de África del Mueseo del Historiador" in Old Havana. He was expelled from this institution in 1991 due to his political views. The same year he entered the former social democratic organization Corriente Socialista Democrática Cubana, which represented an alternative to the Cuban regime. Roughly a decade later, in 2002, he founded the Arco Progresista which he presides until this day. Morúa's leadership stood out due to his wish to promote and construct an inclusive space which reflects the diversity of opinions in the Cuban opposition while identifying common objectives as well. Together with several other activists, he coordinated the project Consenso Constitucional while also being a member of the Civic Committee for Racial Integration.
At the moment, he is participating at the Mesa de Unidad de Acción Democrática and Otro18. Both organizations seek to introduce proposals and electoral reforms that would allow for fair and just elections in Cuba.
Next, Victor Manuel Domínguez from the Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral de Cuba took the stage speaking about union organization and labour law reform which he is pursuing through the Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores Cubanos.
A journalist by profession, Domínguez began advocating for an independent trade union movement in 1995 in the Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores Cubanos. After that, he started working for the agency Sindical Lux Infro Press where he is still active as a journalist today. In 2001, he founded the Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba. A year later, he created and directed until today the Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral de Cuba. He played a pivotal role in the transformation and structuring of the Movimiento Sindical Independiente de Cuba. Domínguez is a member of the Coalicion Sindical Independiente Cuba since 2011 with which he is trying to introduce a labour code. Besides, he is a poet, writer, screenplay writer and Producer of radio shows and movies. Currently, he is the vice-president of the Independent Writers Club of Cuba and the director of the art and literature magazine Puente de Letras.
Finally, the former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, spoke on her experience in constructing consensus in Costa Rica and on how to facilitate dialogue between different opinions.
Laura Chinchilla Miranda, former president of Costa Rica (2010-2014), is a political scientist with a degree from the University of Costa Rica and a master in Public Policies from the University of Georgetown in the USA. Between 1996 and 1998, she held different public offices such as Minister of Public Security, President of the Consejo Nacional de Migracion y del Consejo Nacional de Drogas. In 2002, she was elected to the national congress for a four-year term where she assumed the presidency of the Commission for Justice and Narcotrafficking. After her time in congress, she was elected vice-president of the republic and also took charge of the Ministry of Justice.