Cuban and Russian human rights activists awarded with 2015 Truman- Reagan Medal of Freedom award
June 13, Washington DC: Cuban and Russian human rights activists were awarded with 2015 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom award on Friday.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation announced the details for the presentation of the 2015 Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom to Cuban human rights activist Guillermo Fariñas Hernández and Russian journalist and human rights activist Alexandr Podrabinek. The ceremony was organized on June 12th in Washington, D.C.
Past recipients of the award include Hon. Donald Rumsfeld, William F. Buckley, Jr and Pope John Paul II. The recipients of the award Hernández is a Cuban Human Rights Activist and Podrabinek is a Russian Journalist.
Other recipients are Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
Speaking at the programme, Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation said that, “It is our honor and privilege to present this award to Guillermo Fariñas Hernández and Alexandr Podrabinek.”
“These two men come from different places, but share a tireless devotion to ensuring that future generations will live in a world free from the horrors of communism. With this award, we honor their courage and their continued commitment to the fight for basic human
rights,” he said.
Hernández: Throughout his life, Fariñas has fought courageously and selflessly for the right to freedom of information and against government repression in Castro’s Cuba. A psychologist, journalist and political dissident, Fariñas captured international attention when he went on more than 20 hunger strikes in the 11 years he was held prisoner by the Cuban government. His actions helped expose the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Castro regime. He is currently General Coordinator of the United Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FATU), a group of political activists committed to nonviolence, and was awarded the Sakharov Peace Prize by the European Union in 2010. Fariñas has been a vocal opponent of President Obama’s recent “thaw” in relations with Cuba, saying that the political and humanitarian situation is not likely to improve in light of the new deal.
Podrabinek: During his studies to become a doctor in the former Soviet Union, Alexandr Podrabinek became acquainted with the Soviet system’s tyrannical use of psychiatry to repress its own people. Alarmed at what he saw, Podrabinek investigated further, his dissident activities eventually causing the authorities to dismiss him from medical training. In 1977, he published his observations in the groundbreaking book Punitive Medicine, which led to his arrest the following year and eventually a sentence of five years’ exile in Siberia. Since then, Podrabinek has written and edited for several dissident publications and published Alexander Litvinenko’s landmark book Blowing Up Russia. Podrabinek has endured multiple arrests and imprisonment in his struggle against repressive Russian governments, from the Soviet system of the past to Vladimir Putin today.
The Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom is awarded each year by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to those individuals and institutions that have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny.
The Oslo Times