Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe
What is IDEE?
Democracy for Cuba Program
Cuba and Eastern Europe have been
intertwined ever since Fidel and Raul Castro imposed a communist regime
on the island fifty years ago. Using the help of the Soviet Union and
its allies, the Castros learned how to centralize the economy,
bureaucratize the government, and impose the state's control over the
of citizens. Most significantly, Cuba adopted the entire repressive
ideology and apparatus of the Soviet
Union. In turn Cuba's police and army served at the orders of the
Soviet Union both in organizinig subversion in Latin America or
supporting revolutionary movements in Africa. During the long reign of
the Castros, human
rights have been totally suppressed and more than a million people have
fled the regime's tyranny.
fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in 1989–91
offered some increased hopes for democratic change in Cuba as well.
Instead, the Castros have continued to adhere to the early form
Stalinism they adopted 50 years, including blanket repression,
ideological mobilization, and total state domination. Today, the Cuban
regime stands as
the only member of the Soviet bloc that has not rejected or overthrown
communism. It is only
natural then that the democratic and civic activists who helped to
overthrow communism in Eastern Europe feel a natural obligation to
assist their Cuban counterparts and to offer some antidote to the
secret police collaborators and agents who came to Cuba from their own
IDEE began the first program to
Eastern European support for the Cuban democracy movement at the
request of Cuban opposition leaders in 1995. Over the next
four years, IDEE organized trips of more than thirty opposition and
veterans from Eastern Europe to share their experiences with
civic, trade union, cooperative, media, human rights, religious, and
communities. From 1996 to 2002, IDEE published a series of thirty
that provided Cuban activists with information and essays on East
opposition movements, the fall of communism, transitions to democracy
the region, and a series of essays called Cuba
IDEE worked with other organizations to establish a foundation of
Eastern European public figures for promoting democratic change in Cuba.
● promoted the exchange of experiences between Eastern Europeans and their Cuban counterparts by organizing 64 trips of 181 Eastern Europeans;
● carried out training on various topics related to democracy for more than 3,000 people;
● provided 175 small grants of financial and material assistance directly to Cuban dissidents and civil society organizations covering all regions of the island;
● published Cuba Chronicle of Events and Assessment Cuba, informational and analytical bulletins concerning the Cuban democracy movement published in English, Russian, and Spanish from 2005-2009;
● established a special web site called DemocracyforCuba.org from 2008 to 2012 that posted all of the educational and informational publications mentioned above in Spanish and English as well as other resources (such as Uncaptive Minds, The Road to Solidairty, and others) that could benefit Cuban democrats.
● distributed all of its publications and informational material on flash disks, distributed in many hundreds of copies throughout the island.
Although funding for the Democracy for Cuba program was discontinued in 2011, many of the Eastern European participants in the program join IDEE in continuing to act in defense of human rights in Cuba and attempting to help democratic activists on the island bring about an end to communism in Cuba.
IDEE, a tax exempt (501)(c)(3) not-for-profit
donations to continue its Democracy for Cuba program.
1718 M Street, NW, No. 147 · Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 361-9346 · E-mail: [email protected]
Eric Chenoweth and Irena Lasota, Directors