U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC Announces "Young Leaders Group"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC Announces "Young Leaders Group"

New Group Will Play Key Role in Policy, Community Outreach and Social Media

The U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC ("PAC") is pleased to announce the creation of its new Young Leaders Group ("YLG").

The YLG is composed of dynamic young professional and student leaders (under-35) with a proven commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The founding Board of Directors is composed of members from Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta.

"The passion and enthusiasm of these young leaders is not only inspiring to me, but proves that we are passing the torch with a stronger flame than ever," said Gus Machado, co-founder and Treasurer of the PAC.

The YLG will play a key role in the PAC's policy discussions, community outreach and social media.

"I look forward to working together with these young leaders to ensure that human rights and democracy remain at the forefront of U.S.-Cuba policy," said Mauricio Claver-Carone, 37-year old co-founder and Director of the PAC.

(Below is the official Mission Statement, Agenda and Biographies of its founding Directors.)

The U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC is a non-connected, non-partisan, federal political action committee dedicated to the promotion of an unconditional transition in Cuba to democracy, the rule of law and the free market. It is the single-largest foreign-policy political committee in the U.S. and the largest Hispanic political committee in history.

Mission Statement

The US-Cuba Democracy PAC Young Leaders Group ("YLG") is a group of young professionals and students who work to promote democratic values, human rights and the rule of law as the cornerstone of US-Cuba policy. The YLG is dedicated to spreading awareness among young Americans regarding the brutality of the Castro dictatorship and the courageous efforts of Cuba's young, vibrant and diverse pro-democracy movement. Its mission will continue until a free and democratic future is ensured for all Cubans.


Social Media Campaigns - The U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC Young Leaders Group ("YLG") will spread awareness of the injustices in Cuba and the need for a comprehensive U.S. policy that promotes human rights and democracy through social media campaigns encompassing all relevant platforms.

Issue Advocacy - The YLG will continue to advocate for a U.S. policy towards Cuba that holds paramount the fundamental right of the Cuban people to be free and enjoy all liberties. This includes publishing Op-Eds and other methods of engaging with mass media, hosting conferences, meeting with community and political leaders and peer-to-peer engagement.

Community Events - The YLG will host community events in order to connect other young professionals and students interested in supporting a policy that emphasizes democracy and human rights for the Cuban people.

Founding Board of Directors

Anthony Cruz is a student whose dedication to human rights marks his college career. His advocacy and enthusiasm for liberty and democracy has driven him to be active on campus and in his community on issues involving Cuba and Cuba policy. Cruz is a rising junior studying political science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Keith Fernandez is a former campaign advisor to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and has held leadership roles in various Florida-based statewide and local campaigns. He co-authored a widely covered bipartisan petition that urged the Pope to meet with dissidents during his 2012 visit to Cuba. He has been published in the Cuban-American Bar Association Briefs and the Miami Herald. Fernandez holds a B.A. in Political Science from Florida International University and a J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law.

Carlos M. Gutierrez, Jr. is an attorney who resides in Washington, DC. Gutierrez is a former aide to Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and a former international development professional with the Inter-American Development Bank. Carlos holds a B.A.from the University of Michigan and M.A. and J.D. from Georgetown University.

Gregory Hernandez is a law clerk at the law firm of Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira LLP, a member of the Cuban American Bar Association and Belen Alumni Lawyers. Mr. Hernandez graduated from the Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minors in Literature and Philosophy in 2008. He received his J.D. in 2012 from the University of Miami School of Law and is pending admission to the practice of law in the state of Florida.  Mr. Hernandez is dedicated to preserving freedom for those at home and abroad and has made that a focus of his personal and professional endeavors. He has been active in community affairs and has participated in a number of development missions abroad including to the Dominican Republic, Belize and Honduras.

Marco Leyte-Vidal is a civil trial attorney who works for the advancement of his community and human rights. Leyte-Vidal has been recognized for his work in the legal field, recently being awarded the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 40 Under 40 lawyers of Miami-Dade County and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Up and Comers. He hosts an annual domino night against cancer, benefiting La Liga Contra el Cancer, and started a scholarship at the FIU College of Law.

Vanessa Lopez is studying law at Emory University Law School. She was a research associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. She was a founding member of UMCAUSA - Students for a Free Cuba at the University of Miami. She holds a Bachelors in Arts and Masters in International Administration from the University of Miami.

Rudy Mayor is active in human rights and pro-democracy issues, has organized events to raise awareness of political prisoners and was featured in a documentary titled "Oscar's Cuba" on former prisoner Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. Mayor authored an Op-Ed on Cuba policy for Fox News Latino and previously worked for the Center for a Free Cuba. He is a Hialeah native and also a third-year law student at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.