Vision and Mission
A FREE, PROSPEROUS AND DEMOCRATIC CUBA.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FHRC) is a 501 [c]3 non profit organization established in 1992 to promote a nonviolent transition to a free and democratic Cuba with zero tolerance to Human Rights abuses. FHRC seeks to empower human rights defenders and activists who are working for change in Cuba through non-violent means. These includes prisoners of conscience and their families, independent journalists, legal defense, bloggers and any marginalized sector of the society. FHRC feels a profound responsibility to support and empower the Cuban civil society in its efforts to obtain this transition.
FHRC also maintains initiatives outside of Cuba to promote efforts by Cuban Civil Society within the Island, including fundraising campaigns and raising awareness about conditions on the Island. FHRC feels a profound responsibility to support and empower Cuban Civil Society in its efforts to bring freedom and democracy to their country.
The History of FHRC: 1992 to Date
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FHRC) was established in 1992 as a 301[c]3 non- profit Florida corporation to promote a non-violent transition to a free and democratic Cuba with zero tolerance for human rights violations. Ever since, the organization has become a leading resource for rebuilding the social and cultural fabric of deteriorated communities under the long-standing Communist regime.
FHRC was co-founded by lifelong human rights advocate Tony Costa. He began FHRC with a vision of bringing true reform to his native country – a Cuba embracing democracy, human rights, and free markets. Guided by Tony’s energy, passion, and commitment, FHRC continues to work tirelessly to promote human rights and civil society in his beloved birthplace.
During the almost three decades past since FHRC’s founding, we’ve grown dramatically, bringing real change to Cuba by empowering people to stand for a brighter tomorrow. Here’s a brief timeline of our accomplishments:
1992-2002: Beginnings and Initial Expansion
During the period 1992-2002, FHRC participated in several international forums advocating for the respect of human rights in Cuba. In 1997 we established contact with sympathizers of our cause in the Czech Republic. This brought an alliance with the cuban exiled community that endures to this day. The late President Vaclav Havel visited Miami and confirmed his philosophy of human rights and democracy was in tune with ours. Also at that time the Czech Republic opened a trade office in Miami at the Blue Lagoon complex.
2002-2006: Mexican Solidarity
During 2000-2006, FHRC established a bond with Mexico’s new administration of President Vicente Fox and we accessed all the main players in Mexico’s legislature and Senate. The support for the human rights issue in Cuba became a primary issue for the Fox administration. For the first time in history the Mexico’s vote at the U.N. Human Rights Commission was an abstention. Also when President Fox visited Cuba, he became the only foreign head of state who met with Cuban dissidents at the Mexican embassy, This posture has never been repeated by any other Head of State.
2003-2013: Growing Partnerships & Invitations to Washington
The years 2003-2013 may have been the most impactful period of human rights activism in the history of FHRC. Our partners grew dramatically, to as many as 60 civil society groups totaling more than 1,300 activists across the island. These groups held at least 627 concerts and cultural events, human rights activities, and training workshops for thousands of activists.
FHRC’s commitment to using technology as a change promoter on the island grew as well. We sent over 7,000 units of phones, laptops, and other equipment valued at more than $80,000.
Our groundbreaking call center, staffed by 6 relationship managers, processed 7,000 phone calls to Cuba offering moral support, mentoring, and responding to requests from Cuban human rights defenders.
Our efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba resulted in more than $290,000 sent over to hundreds of families of prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders and children.
FHRC partners met in Washington with policymakers of both parties like President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to discuss important issues related to Cuba’s future as a free society.
We expanded our headquarters and staff in Miami, enhanced our organizational strategies and implementation, and produced strong results.
57% of donations to FHRC went to on-island expenses.
2014-present: Meaningful Results & Continuing Efforts
In 2014 FHRC concluded its 36-month PODER initiative (Program to Develop Empowerment Reliably) raising close to $2,000,0000 for direct on and off-island assistance. PODER was supported by a head-start USAID grant.
We also launched an exciting partnership with Miami-Dade College (MDC), unveiling the SUSP (Somos un Solo Pueblo) Scholarship Program. This important venture provided a platform for young Cubans who were brought to the U.S. to attend classes at MDC, learning and growing thanks to academic opportunities currently unavailable to them in Cuba.
We moved our headquarters to Little Havana, continuing to expand our operations and fine-tune our methodologies in order to maximize our impact in Cuba.
Our fundraising efforts were also expanded thanks to the support of our ever-growing donor base. We participated in the Miami Give Day for the third year in a row, raising $37,250 in a single day. Meanwhile our annual Noche Tropical event raised $350k in one night, the most successful in its eight year history.
Programs and Publications
Our efforts in Washington D.C. continued as we sent government officials 35 weekly bulletins highlighting ongoing human rights abuses in Cuba. Other publications were submitted as continuing education bulletins as well, including reports on prisons and prisoner treatment, the role of the Cuban Government in the movement against democracy, and the human trafficking of Cuban doctors and other professionals.
Our efforts to educate the public using video continued to expand. Sixteen videos were produced and posted on Facebook, including profiles of government repressors, highlights on the importance of non-violent activism, and recorded workshops discussing Cuba’s corrupt relationships with Venezuela, Russia, China, and Iran.
In the first quarter of 2019 a detailed report on Cuba’s abduction of Venezuela, “Cubazuela, A Chronicle of a Cuban Intervention”, was researched and written by our staffers and contributors.
During 2018, FHRC’S Cuban Repressors program continued to bring accountability to Cuban government officials who abuse their power. Photos and personal data of corrupt and abusive bureaucrats and police officers are submitted to our database. Thanks to information we provided, two Cuban violent repressors residing in Tampa and Gainesville, Florida, are being investigated by the FBI and DHS (ICE)
Our Cuban Repressors Database has identified and exposed 97 of these perpetrators thus far, including members of State Security and Rapid-Response Brigades, high ranking military officers working undercover in Venezuela and white-collar repressors who abuse their positions to harass political dissenters.
Besides Cuban Repressors, FHRC currently works in another five Cuba-related programs: Conflict Resolution, training Cubans to pressure authorities to resolve their needs; Human Trafficking, aimed to stop the slave-like, exploitation of Cuban professionals; Microcredits, to give Cubans entrepreneurs the necessary resources to start a business, Connect Cuba, to help Cubans overcome the information and technology barriers, and Contests, to promote and evaluate independent thinking on the reality of the island.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FHRC) is a 501c3 nongovernmental organization established to empower Cuban Civil Society in its struggle to build a free and democratic Cuba.