The Honorable Armando Valladares
Ambassador Armando Valladares is a Cuban poet, artist, and dissident who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In 1960, he was arrested by the Cuban communist regime for refusing to display a pro-Castro sign on his desk. For the next 22 years, Valladares was held as a prisoner of conscience. Human rights groups, international organizations, and members of the United States Congress all called on the Cuban regime to free him on humanitarian grounds. After his release, Valladares published a memoir of his incarceration entitled Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag. He has also published several books of poetry in Spanish. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan appointed Valladares to serve as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a position in which he served for two years. Valladares is a 2010 laureate of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom and serves on the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation International Advisory Council.