LSU to Host Panel Discussion on “Castro’s Legacy and the Future of Cuba” on March 8

BATON ROUGE – “Castro’s Legacy and the Future of Cuba” is the topic of a lunchtime panel from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, in the Vieux Carré Room of the LSU Student Union. The event is open to the LSU community, and lunch will be provided for the first 35 people who attend. Speakers include Rosa María Payá and John Suarez, coming courtesy of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation of Washington, D.C.

Payá is a member of the Christian Liberation Movement and daughter of its national coordinator in Cuba, Oswaldo Payá, opposition leader and Sakharov Prize laureate of the European Parliament. Like her father, who died at the hands of the Cuban regime, she advocates for legal and nonviolent change so that every Cuban can enjoy all basic human rights. She is executive director of Cuba Decide, a citizen initiative seeking fair elections on the island. 

Suarez is a human rights activist, an advocate for ordered liberty and currently the international secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate. Suarez founded the Free Cuba Foundation, an action-oriented youth movement committed to human rights, supporting the Cuban internal democratic opposition, and advocating the principles of Gandhian non-violence. He hosts the blog Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.

“Today’s students have often learned about the atrocities of the 20th century, usually those committed by Nazis and fascists,” said James Stoner, director of the Eric Voegelin Institute, co-sponsor of the event. “Rarely have they heard how many people died in that century at the hands of communists, some of whom remain in power today. We are pleased to bring to campus two speakers with first-hand experience of life under a communist regime, who know that the story of Cuba in the past half-century is not just a matter of preserving classic cars.”

The panel is co-sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an educational and human rights nonprofit devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes and the Eric Voegelin Institute. The Eric Voegelin Institute, named for one of LSU’s original Boyd Professors, is a humanities and social science institute at LSU that sponsors research, lectures and conferences, publications, and teaching focused on the ideas and questions that animated Voegelin’s wide-ranging thought.




Contact James R. Stoner Jr.
Eric Voegelin Institute and LSU Department of Political Science


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations