14ymedio, Havana, 16 April 2018 — The Ladies in White have been awarded the 2018 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, given every two years by the Cato Institute to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of human freedom, according to a press release published on the website of the American institute.
The award, which comes with 250,000 dollars, has been bestowed on the women of this human rights movement that was born as a result of the arrests of the 2003 Black Spring. Over the last 15 years “the authorities have constantly harassed them and organized mob violence against them,” says the press release.
The Cato Institute declares that, although “they are not a political party and do not have an overtly political program, they seek freedom of expression for all and the release of prisoners of conscience in Cuba.”
The document adds that these activists “have faced increasing police harassment and arrest in recent years, as the Cuban government tries to hide-but not correct-its habit of quashing dissent.”
The prize will be formally awarded on May 17 at the Gala Dinner of the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty to be held in New York.
Established in 2002, previous editions of the Milton Friedman Prize has been awarded to well-known academics, activists and political leaders. Outstanding among them are the Venezuelan student leader Yon Goicoechea Lara (2008), the Chinese activist Mao Yushi and the Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji, among others.
This year’s international selection committee was made up of Lescek Balcerowicz (former deputy prime minister and former finance minister of Poland), Janice Rogers Brown (former judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit), Vicente Fox (former president of Mexico), Sloane Frost (president of the Board of Directors for Students for Liberty), Peter N. Goetler (president and CEO of the Cato Institute), Herman Mashaba (Executive Mayor of Johannesburg), Harvey Silverglate (Co-founder Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), Donald G. Smith (President of Donald Smith & Company Inc.) and Linda Whetstone (Chair of Atlas Network).
The Ladies in White were awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2005, granted by the European Parliament, but the Cuban government barred them at that time from attending the award ceremony in Strasbourg, France.
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