VOC is hosting the “Voices for Freedom” online event series to highlight the tragic and powerful stories of victims of communist countries, past and present. From escaping North Korea to defying Venezuela's Nicholás Maduro and surviving torture as a political prisoner, witnesses will share what life under communism is really like and how they survived and continue to combat communist regimes against all odds.
About the speaker:
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is a Cuban writer and photographer. He was born in Havana, Cuba and graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in biochemistry. In 2010, Lazo founded Cuba’s first digital magazine, Voces. He is editor of Voces and two other Cuban independent digital magazines, Cacharro(s) and The Revolution Evening Post. Lazo is an outspoken critic of the Castro regime and he was arrested three times in Cuba by Castro’s political police. In 2013, he had to leave Cuba and since then he has been giving lectures at U.S. universities about social activism, civil society, and new tendencies in Cuban literature and its censorship by the State. He has participated in several academic events, including ASCE Congress 2014 and LASA Congress 2015. In Cuba, he published the books of narrative Collage Karaoke, Empezar de cero, Ipatrías, and Mi nombre es William Saroyan. His fiction book, Boring Home, was censored by LETRAS CUBANAS publishing house and published abroad. In 2014, O/R Books published his Cuban new narrative anthology Cuba in Splinters and Restless Books published his digital photobook Abandoned Havana with a preface by Jon Lee Anderson. Since 2016, Lazo has studied in a Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on the topic of political pilgrims to the Cuban Revolution. He blogs at “Lunes de post-Revolución,” translated into English as “Post-Revolution Mondays.”