Czech President's Anti-Communism Speech Beamed Into Cuba

July 7, 2008 - 7:12 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A man who helped undermine communism in his own country is sharing what he learned with Cubans who oppose the communist dictatorship of Fidel Castro.

President Vaclav Havel, in a speech Monday at Florida International University in Miami, will address "the power of the powerless." The speech, based on an essay he wrote in 1978, is expected to be a how-to guide on resisting communism.

With Havel at its helm, the Czech Republic in recent years has been sharply critical of Cuba's communist dictatorship - especially its human rights policy.

Last April, the Czech Republic introduced a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Commission denouncing human rights violations in Cuba. It expressed "deep concern about continuing repression of members of the political opposition" in Cuba. It was narrowly approved.

"Radio Marti" will broadcast Havel's speech live into Cuba. Radio Marti is a Spanish language short wave radio station based in Miami and financed by the U.S. government. It broadcasts anti-Castro programs.

Havel arrived in Miami Sunday to show support for Cuban dissidents on both sides of the Florida straits. Several Cuban exile groups held a reception for him, and he met with a group of men and women who had spent years in Castro's prisons.

Havel told The Miami Herald that he wanted to meet with the former prisoners and dissidents to pay his respects. He spent four years in Czech jails when the communists ruled the former Czechoslovakia.

During an interview with the Herald, Havel refused to criticize the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, saying it wouldn't be "appropriate" to comment on American internal affairs.

Jewish community leaders in Miami will honor Havel on Monday night with a fundraiser to benefit the human rights foundation he will lead when he leaves public office later this year.

The Jews are honoring Havel for allowing Prague to be used as a way station over a decade ago for Russian Jews migrating to Israel after the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

E-mail a news tip to Jim Burns.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.