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Female leaders talk about human rights violations against women

From Guatemala to Brazil and Cuba, women face repression and violence

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(GRAPHIC: PHOTO COURTESY OF JUAN MANUEL HERRERA OF ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES, HABITAT INTERNATIONAL COALITION/AP)

MIAMI – Florida International University hosted the Women and Human Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean conference in Miami Thursday.

FIU's Latin American and Caribbean Center worked with The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, an organization that aims to empower Cubans to push for "a democracy free of human rights violations."

Cuban dissidents Berta de los Angeles Soler Fernandez, 51, and Yusmila Reyna Ferrera talked about "Women and Civil Society in Cuba." Soler she faced many difficulties on the socialist island as the leader of "Ladies in White," a group of relatives of political prisoners.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Event organizers were using hash tag "Our Voices Resonate" and "women's rights" on Twitter.

"Being a black woman and belonging to the opposition is a triple sin in Cuba," Soler said in Spanish.

Other topics of discussions included "Gender Violence in the Americas," "Education and Grassroots Activities" and "Women in Public Policy and Political Leadership."

Cuban blogger Yoani Maria Sanchez Cordero, 39, was the lunchtime speaker. She used Skype to communicate from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She talked about reports of human rights violations on the island.

Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy Miriam Kornblith was also part of the event. And the founder of the Haitian Women of Miami organization, Marleine Bastien, talked about the domestic violence and discrimination that she says Haitian women regularly endure.

Other speakers also included Gloria Alvarez, a political analyst from Guatemala, and Rita Laura Segato, an anthropologist from Brazil. In Guatemala, women have suffered horrific sexual violence due to the civil war and its legacy. In Brazil, there is a culture of inequality that affects women the most.

The free event open to the public was held at FIU's south campus' Graham Center Ballroom, 11200 SW 8th St., and was scheduled to end about 4:20 p.m.

Follow Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime