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Captive Nations Week Summit

  • Russell Senate Office Building, Room 325 2 Constitution Ave NE Washington, DC 20002 USA (map)
2018 photo.jpg

Please join us for the Captive Nations Week Summit on Monday, July 15 at Russell Senate Office Building, Room 325.

The Captive Nations Week Summit will provide an opportunity for policymakers and human rights advocates to hear first-hand from victims of the captive nations of Hong Kong, China, Cuba, Laos, Nicaragua, North Korea, Vietnam, and Venezuela.

Confirmed participants include Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Organization of American States Sec. Gen. Luis Almagro, Venezuelan Amb. Carlos Vecchio, and 2019 Victims of Communism Human Rights Award laureate Mother Mushroom.

The Summit will also feature the "Victims of Venezuela's Dictatorship" photo exhibition from award-winning photographers covering the humanitarian crisis and the crimes against humanity in Venezuela.


10:30 a.m. Registration

11:00 a.m. Welcome by Marion Smith, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Executive Director

Keynote by Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Trustee & Harvard University’s JFK Belfer Center for Science
and International Affairs, Senior Fellow in the “Future of Diplomacy Project”

Keynote by Ambassador Carlos Vecchio, Ambassador of Venezuela to the United States

11:15 a.m. Captive Nations of Latin America Panel


  • John Suarez, Center for a FREE Cuba, Executive Director

  • Dr. Carlos Ponce, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Senior Fellow & Director of Latin American Programs

  • María C. Werlau, Cuba Archive, Executive Director

  • Ana Quintana, The Heritage Foundation, Senior Policy Analyst, Latin America and the Western Hemisphere (moderator)

12:00 p.m. Lunch

Keynote by Benedict Rogers, Hong Kong Watch, Chairman of Trustees

12:30 p.m. Captive Nations of China and North Korea


  • Rushan Abbas, Campaign for Uyghurs, Founder & Director

  • Bob Fu, ChinaAid, President

  • Greg Scarlatoiu, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Executive Director

  • Dr. Suzanne Scholte, Defense Forum Foundation, President

  • Olivia Enos, The Heritage Foundation, Senior Policy Analyst, Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy (moderator)

1:15 p.m. VOC Human Rights Award Ceremony for Mother Mushroom

Video Message by VOC Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)

Keynote by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)

Keynote by Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh a.k.a. “Mother Mushroom,” Vietnamese blogger and

1:30 p.m. Captive Nations of South East Asia


  • James Her, Congress of World Hmong People

  • Huy Nguyen, Next Generations of the Republic of Vietnam Organization

  • Dr. Hung Tran, Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Member

  • Dr. Murray Bessette, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Director of Academic Programs (moderator)

2:30 p.m. Keynote by Luis Almagro, Organization of American States, Secretary General

3:00 p.m. Event end

Registration required via Eventbrite

Later Event: August 23
Baltic Way 30