Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012 Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

February 1st marks the beginning of another cycle for the Norwegian Nobel Committee with hundreds of nominations pouring in before the deadline.  This month I will be highlighting the work of announced nominees for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Whether or not you agree with their respective causes, I'm sure you'll find some lessons we can all apply along the way. I'm struck by the incredible diversity in the nominees already!  I look forward to learning more about the nominees that have been publicly announced and to sharing what I've found with you... 

 Cuba’s Ladies in White, Biscet officially Nominated for 2012 Nobel Peace Prize (WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with twenty-nine of her Congressional colleagues in the House and Senate sent a letter to the Nobel Committee nominating Cuba’s ‘Las Damas de Blanco’ (the Ladies in White) and Cuban human rights activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. To view a copy of the letter, please click here .

Ladies in White  is an opposition movement consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed Cuban dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday, wearing white dresses and then silently walking through the streets dressed in white clothing. The color white is chosen to symbolize peace. The movement received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2005.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“As we reflect on the recent birthday of Jose Marti, a Cuban national hero and supporter of Cuban independence, we are reminded of the Cuban people’s current pursuit for freedom and democracy. Human rights activists such as the Ladies in White and Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet carry on Marti’s torch as they advocate for the liberation of the Cuban people from the oppressive Castro regime. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony this week before Congress reaffirmed the dire picture in Cuba: the regime will continue to repress peaceful protestors, arrest political dissidents, and tighten its iron grip on the island.

“The brave members of ‘Las Damas de Blanco’ (the Ladies in White) merit global recognition for their inspiring commitment to freedom and human rights in Cuba. This organization, comprised of the female relatives of political prisoners, has become a voice for the oppressed Cuban people. As their message of freedom and democracy for all Cubans echoes across the island and the world, they are met with constant harassment and beatings by the paranoid Cuban regime. But the Ladies in White continue to peacefully march on in spite of the dictatorship’s violent efforts to silence them.

“Dr. Biscet is a former political prisoner who suffered life-threatening conditions at the hands of Castro’s thugs. His courage, commitment, and his peaceful efforts to bring about a transition to a free, democratic Cuba have resonated internationally.

“By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the Ladies in White and Dr. Biscet, the Nobel Committee would help highlight the plight of the Cuban people and honor the sacrifice and courage of these activists, while helping to rally world opinion around the Cuban people’s desperate yearning for freedom.”

NOTE: In addition to Ros-Lehtinen, the cosigners of the letter are: U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and U.S. Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), David Rivera (R-FL), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Dan Burton (R-IN), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ed Royce (R-CA), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Mike Pence (R-IN), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Connie Mack (R-FL), Ted Poe (R-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Tim Griffin (R-AK), Dennis Ross (R-FL), and Robert Turner (R-NY).