572. 4/11/2003

“As members of the Cuba Working Group, we condemn the Cuban government’s detention and sentencing of many Cuban citizens who have been promoting civil, political, and human rights, hosting independent libraries, or practicing independent journalism. We call on the Cuban government to reverse this course of action and release these people immediately. Our bipartisan group of Members of the United States House of Representatives has long been working to change US policy towards Cuba. Through repeated legislative victories, we have demonstrated that the majority of the House supports ending several of the key aspects of the embargo that undermine US interests, such as the ban on travel to Cuba by US citizens…Many of us have visited Cuba and met with several of the Cuban citizens who now face prison sentences of 20 years or more. It is inconceivable to us that these people were involved in a conspiracy with the US Government. Rather, they were working peacefully for the benefit of the Cuban people. And ironically, many of them strongly advocate improving US policy towards Cuba – something the Cuban government says it supports. Their imprisonment removes a powerful voice for better relations between citizens of Cuba and the US. Therefore, we call on the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release these people, as well as all other prisoners of conscience. We also call on the Cuban government to return the property seized in this crackdown; cease intimidation of activists; and allow them to carry out their peaceful activities.” [Con Embargo]

“Statement of the House CWG on Dissidents’ Sentencing,” Latin America Working Group, LAWG.org, (Cuba Policy Foundation date April 11, 2003)

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