CFF at Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) will featured five inspiring talks by human rights defenders from around the world. I
Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado
El Sexto, whose real name is Danilo Maldonado, is a Cuban graffiti artist and activist whose public work has turned him into a formidable dissident, evidenced by the ongoing repression he suffers at the hands of the Castro dictatorship. His critical art has made him a target of the Cuban government and he has been detained numerous times. In December 2014, El Sexto was arrested on his way to put on a performance art piece called “Rebelión en la Granja,” with two pigs decorated with the names “Fidel” and “Raúl.” El Sexto was charged with contempt and imprisoned for 10 months without a trial. He was finally released on October 20, 2015, following pressure from international human rights groups.
Jean-Robert Cadet is an anti-slavery advocate and the founder of the Jean R. Cadet Restavek Organization, an organization dedicated to ending child slavery under Haiti’s restavek, or forced domestic servitude, system. Cadet was enslaved at four years old and remained a domestic servant until his owners immigrated to the United States and expelled him from the house. Despite these obstacles, Cadet finished high school, joined the U.S. Army, and earned a master’s degree in French literature. Cadet is the author of two books that chronicle his experiences as a survivor of slavery. He has also participated in the UN Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and testified before the U.S. Congress and the United Nations about the restavek system.
Chen Guangcheng is a blind Chinese civil rights activist and legal worker who advocates for the rights of rural villagers and individuals with disabilities. Chen has faced numerous prison and house arrest sentences after organizing a landmark class-action lawsuit against Chinese authorities in 2005 for excessive enforcement of the country’s one-child policy. In April 2012, Chen escaped from house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He now lives with his family in the U.S. where he collaborates with American legal scholars, working with the Witherspoon Institute and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice to denounce one-party rule in China.
Marcel Granier is a Venezuelan journalist, media entrepreneur, and advocate of press freedom. He is the president and CEO of Empresas 1BC and was the general director of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), which was the oldest and most-watched television channel in Venezuela until it was forced to close in 2007. For decades, Granier was host of “Primer Plano,” a political talk show with millions of viewers. When Hugo Chávez came to power in Venezuela, Granier and his television network were frequently attacked and challenged by the president, who described the station and its employees as “fascists” and “coup-plotters” for their criticism of the government. Without a legal proceeding, RCTV’s frequency was cancelled by the government in 2007.
Tutu Alicante is the executive director of EG Justice, the world’s first NGO focusing on human rights, rule of law, transparency, and civil society in Equatorial Guinea. Alicante is an adversary of government abuse of power, corruption, and impunity, and a vocal critic of Equatorial Guinea’s authoritarian regime. EG Justice works with citizens to end government impunity and push for lasting democratic reforms. Its diaspora network of concerned individuals and organizations demands accountability for human rights violations, raises awareness about socio-economic and political conditions in Equatorial Guinea, and advocates for meaningful reform in the areas of rule of law, transparency, and civic participation.
This event is a joint initiative with Universidad Francisco Marroquín.