There is an overwhelming desire among Cuba’s younger generation, for individual initiatives, independent civil society activities and networking that, unfortunately, have not been fulfilled by a Cuban system that lacks and/or inhibits institutions that can provide formal educational/training services on various types of professional/vocational skills required to successfully start independent, self-sustaining, socio-cultural, civic organizations, campaigns and other initiatives. With the Cuban people indefectibly approaching a crossroads, the lack of skills and preparation present a severe challenge but also a distinct opportunity to fill this vacuum with a citizen initiative that could be a first seed of possible alternatives to State-driven “education” or training.
By launching SOMOS UN SOLO PUEBLO (SUSP) in collaboration with Miami Dade College (MDC), the FHRC attempts to provide a platform for young Cubans to learn and grow through academic opportunities that are currently unavailable to them in Cuba. Courses at MDC will be a conduit to transfer information about strategies for personal leadership and effectiveness; organizational structures and management; introductory concepts on technology; basic civil rights; and, technical English reading and speaking skills to a cohort of students who otherwise would not have access to such information under Cuba’s current regime. These students will then return to Cuba as better informed citizens able to communicate their experiences and lessons learned to others living on the island.
Given the obvious challenges facing Cubans in coming to the United States to study and then return to Cuba, FHRC requests that the privacy of each student be respected.
Given the extreme difficulty of accessing information to Cubans living on the island, FHRC opted for contacting more than two dozen respected civil society activists, human rights defenders, and members of independent civil society groups in Cuba in order to obtain a list of potential students for the SUSP academic program. After receiving information on several dozen possible students, and discussing their qualifications with officials of MDC, a final list of proposed candidates was presented to the FHRC Board of Directors for their review and approval. FHRC then submitted that list to MDC for review and final approval. The process for application for admission to MDC and J-1 student visas was then initiated. MDC facilitated the documentation for all J-1 visas which were received, reviewed and processed by the United States Department of State including in-person visa interviews.
FHRC is currently seeking donations and funding from both public and private resources. FHRC protects the confidentiality of its donors and will not release the names of specific donors or funding sources without their express consent. All donations should be directed to FHRC SUSP Scholarship Fund.