Statement from Senator Bob Menendez on Cuban Political Prisoners

Via Capitol Hill Cubans, here is a statement from Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on the 52 Cuban political prisoners set to be released:

Menendez Statement on Cuba’s Planned Release of 52 Political Prisoners

WASHINGTON – With the announcement that the Cuban government intends to release 52 political prisoners, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) released the following statement:

While the news of an intended release of political prisoners is certainly welcome for these prisoners, their families, and their followers, history has shown that these intentions may not be realized for some time, if ever.

Such statements should not be mistaken for an unclenching of the iron first by which the Castro regime rules. We should not throw a parade for a regime that often says one thing and then does another, to include rearresting individuals it has previously made a great show of freeing.

This is the same regime that imprisoned these 52 individuals for seven years simply because they exercised free speech, the same regime continues to incarcerate many more for exercising their basic human rights, and the same regime that denies all Cuban people the everyday freedoms that we take for granted in our country. We should not believe that anything fundamental has changed when a U.S. citizen remains behind bars in Cuba, and when this action is suspiciously timed to coincide with a new corporate-backed effort in Congress to loosen trade and tourism restrictions.

The only way that the Castro regime can show that it finally believes in freedom would be to free all political prisoners, to grant full human rights to all Cuban people, and to allow the Cuban people to determine their own destiny.”

22 thoughts on “Statement from Senator Bob Menendez on Cuban Political Prisoners”

  1. I frankly don’t trust Democrats like Bob Menendez on issues like Cuba or Israel. I sense they are just pandering for votes. Republicans tend to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

  2. Rob,

    Bob Menendez is not pandering for votes. Throughout his long political career, he has been steady and unwavering when it has come to Cuba.

    Don’t forget that Menendez has more to lose for his unflinching, anti-castro, pro-Cuban people/democracy stance being a democrat than he would have if he were a Republican. After all, his party has more castro apologists than the Republican party, so he is going against the grain of his party. He is risking a lot with these public stances.

    We’re lucky to have such a strong ally in the democratic party.

  3. It is highly unfortunate that the Cuban masses have, for many years now, decided their own destiny. As much as us Cuban-Americans vilify Fidel – as we should, and shall always – I am not foolish enough to believe that the mindless Cuban majority are not at fault for what Cuba has been for the past 50-plus years. “Yo acuso al pueblo Cubano” to the same degree as I acuse the Cuban government for the continuous repression of basic human rights and civil liberties. Even as dumbfounding and oxymoronic as it sounds, the Cuban masses are complicit in their own unending misery. Nevertheless, as Machiavelli intimated, a population of people unfamiliar with liberty are far easier to subjugate and to be ingratiated by a King’s good favor. Thus, the sane and righteous fight and die against the tyranny of a King, or they defect from their homeland, to seek freedom elsewhere. And here I am today. It has always been my understanding that it is a people who engender a government, subsequently forming a country. Human history tells me this. My Cuban history tells me this.

    It is also highly unfortunate that the men and women I march for, write for, fight for, are such an intrepid minority – a minority that has been imprisoned within a prison, and a few will now face expulsion from that prison. That same fate was promised to my parents 50-years ago – a time when, once again, only a few with great cojones rose-up against the great flames and ever-present hand of tyranny. History has recycled itself, has it not? And it will recycle itself again. Men and women, awoken from their comatose state, will rise and take-up arms, and perhaps their efforts will be quelled once again. And perhaps not.

    All I’m trying to say is that I don’t believe Cuba is an island of 11 million-plus slaves, as Alberto de la Cruz or Mr. Prieto often declare. I don’t believe that because, as mentioned, there is an overwhelming majority of Cubans (the hordes we have witnessed on television, fists aloft and regurgitating Party slogans), who say, and I quote, “Pero ya yo soy libre, chico.” They say Fidel has given them everything they have ever needed in life. It is heart-breaking, I know, to hear such madness – but is this not Cuba? Nonetheless, that is not the fight that I fight. I fight for the few, who, in time, will amount to a few thousand. And it will be those that will vanquish the recalcitrant tyranny of Fidel and the iron legs of the revolution, that is, the millions of huddled masses.

  4. CDonate43,
    Here we live in a free country and we have over 40% of our citizens willing a tyranny on all of us. What could explain free people finding tyranny desirable and something to fight for? Yet with all of our information and freedom of choice, complete with freedom to leave, over 40% see no danger in progressivism.
    I am more sympathetic to the hungry Cubans who seem to have no choice but to find good things in what they are left with. There seems to be no escape from the depravity, so when you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

  5. “There seems to be no escape from the depravity, so when you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”


    It pains me to hear such words. And then us Cuban-Americans have the gall to ask why on earth has el castrismo plagued the island for so long? Because of individuals like yourself, Honey, who fail to identify the source of every long-standing oppressive government. Had my parents, who failed to “beat ’em”, decide to “join ’em”, I would have lived exponentially worse in Cuba than in American. I would have been exposed to the lies, and how I would have endured. Nevertheless, I would have had nothing to compare it to. Be grateful that you have something to compare Cuba to. This is absolute fact. Now when I say that, I believe I speak for the majority of denizens of this website.

    On a more glaring note, you declare that the Cuban masses do not have a choice in the matter, and therefore must live under this tyranny without a prayer of hope, playing el doble moral wherever they go in an island rife with mistrust. Much to your dismay, I suppose, there is much the Cuban masses can do to enhance their well-being, for generations to come. There is always a choice.

    For instance, let us look at those political prisoners of conscience and, of course, las damas de blanco. Are they not exercising a choice, irrespective of the fact they will face demoralizing ramifications, such a political persecution? And who is it that squashes their attempts to foment pacifisitc, democratic change? It is the masses, as it has always been the masses – the footsoldiers of the revolution.

    Honey, you are defending the very people who do not identify themselves as being oppressed. Though I have the education to identify them as not being free, and though I understand they are the product of mental-washing, that does not mean they would fail to put a knife in my back and heart when Fidel calls upon their services. As I’ve mentioned, history tells me so. If these unyielding masses beat and spit upon aged women in white, what do you suppose they can do to you?

    Blood will one day flood the streets of Cuba. History tells me so. And when the minority takes the upper-hand, and the exiled Cubans infiltrate, the masses will do what they do best: conform.

  6. CDonate43, I think you misunderstood Honey. She is not advocating that stand; she is saying that is the stand the masses on the island have taken and keep taking. She is quite right: most people (not us) will join the herd rather than fight. Sad but true.

  7. No, I believe I understood her quite clearly.

    “I am more sympathetic to the hungry Cubans who seem to have no choice but to find good things in what they are left with.” (Honey)

    These “hungry Cubans” are the very people that this forum fails to recognize as the iron legs of the revolution. They hold the fate of the country, and Fidel (their King), in their hands. They spit on the minority of freedom-fighters. And Honey feels sympathetic towards these people – who “don’t have a choice” whether to brutalize pro-democratic individuals. If they don’t have a choice, then tell me why it is that they seem to participate in such foul and hostile actions, and with such conviction? You tell me, George, who is misunderstanding?

  8. CDonate43:

    I understand the point you are trying to make, but you’re directing your anger at the wrong person. Honey is on our side. Some of us here know her personally, and she is NOT advocating supporting the “iron legs of the revolution.”

    You may not agree with the way she expressed her views, but she is a friend of our cause and she is not the enemy. She is an outstanding and honorable individual who has steadfastly supported freedom in Cuba when she could have easily looked the other way.

  9. Alberto,

    I have, in no way, labeled Honey as the enemy. I can discern that much. Honey, as you say, “is an outstanding and honorable individual who has steadfastly supported freedom in Cuba when she could have easily looked the other way.” With a comment like, “I am more sympathetic to the hungry Cubans who seem to have no choice but to find good things in what they are left with,” I must say I believe Mrs. Honey has looked the other way. Nevertheless, I respect her opinion, as faulty as it is. But I presume you, Mr. Alberto, have only good things to say.

    Just because we are on the same side, it does not mean I will fail to speak when such remarks are made.

  10. I am generally loathe to give my opinion on these matters because I am not Cuban. I am sitting here crying because I have obviously caused some pain. Perhaps I shouldn’t have responded to this one.
    My point is the 14,000 plus had parents brave enough to give their children up for freedom, many thousands have been lucky enough to get out early leaving everything behind, many thousands have escaped by sea, some to death. Yes there are brave damas and those who have been put in prisons for their bravery. There are the collaborators who either enjoy tormenting their fellow citizens or do it for some extra food for their families.
    But the rest, those left behind, those unable to leave, products of oppression and propaganda and lack of food or hope, where are they supposed to get the wherewithal to resist? It takes more than just bravery.
    In Iran where people have jobs, food, money and each other, which Cubans do not have, tens of thousands finally were brave enough to protest. Many were killed or imprisoned and tortured. Do you see more tens of thousands ready to protest now? The protest movement is virtually dead there.
    It took the Pope and Reagan and it took decades before the Poles began their revolt and ultimate success against their oppressors. The had Walesa. He was not in jail and unable to lead them. And the Soviet Union was weakened by Afghanistan and Reagan.
    There are people helping the Castros to have money and goods, but it doesn’t get to the Cuban people.
    I don’t know what you mean by had your parents who failed to beat ’em decided to join them… You miss my meaning, I think. I am not defending Cubans who collaborate with the Castros. I am sad for the Cuban people, victims of the oppression and lack of food and goods and information. You would have been exposed to the lies and would have nothing to compare it to had you stayed. So how are you disagreeing with me? Isn’t that exactly what I am saying?
    Anyway, I will not participate anymore in any of this because I have no wish to upset people who have enough to be upset about already.
    There is a possibility I did not express myself clearly. I think we are on the same page.

  11. Honey,
    Stick around as many here appreciate you. Donate is not Cuban either so that is not a prerequisite to post here. If he is the same Donate that I am familiar with he is a follower of religious cult leaders such as Peter Ruckman and Jack Hyles. If he is the same Donate he is also a follower of those that wish for us Spanish speaking people top have a Spanish Bible translated from the English Bible rather than our original. Best I can tell from looking him up he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing as he claims to be a missionary to Guatemala yet makes his living attacking the Spanish Bible. He basically feels that the “English” speaking folks know whats better for us than the Spanish speaking folks.
    So take him with a grain of salt.

  12. I guess I did not summarize. Donate (if the same one) is nothing but a muckraker. He will pop in and out I am sure in order to be divisive. That is what he is known for in religious circles.

  13. Thank you babaluers for being so kind to me. I definitely feel like family here. The love here is inspirational. If only evil doers could understand the power of love, but I dream.

  14. Dear Honey,
    I hope I am not too late in responding to this, as there are many other articles preceeding this one, but I just got to it.
    I can understand the disdain and mistrust that Donate feels towards the Cubans in the island. I myself feel a great deal of apprehension when coming to the support of many who have demonstrated such out of step and anti-American sentiments when they finally reach this country.
    I just want to tell you that I’m so sorry that you had to shed tears over this today, and if my words help any to quell your distress, please know that I am always in awe of what a brave, bright and commendable woman and American you are. You, as well as Drill, are a wonderful validation to our cause and frustrations. Although *some* of Donate’s points make much sense to ME, I simply do not understand why he has chosen a clear and compassionate statement made by you as target for his offensive. Don’t get it.

    Whether this is the same Donate or not, does the idiot in question realize that much of the KJV was taken directly from the Spanish Bible at the time? Reading what you said made my blood start to boil over the arrogance and stupidity…but then, that’s not quite it?

  15. Alley Kat,
    You can see from my comment above yours my appreciation for those who defended me.
    Your words add to my reason for gratitude. Thank you.

  16. To all bloggers of this forum,

    First, I apologize to Honey. I took it that your were just another Cuban migrant asserting ignorant comments about the capacities (or lack thereof, in your opinion) of the Cuban masses. Once again, I sincerely apologize for injuring your spirits, and I believe it would be an awful shame to see you waive your right of commenting on this forum. I appreciate your vigor, resolute nature and support for the ongoing fight for democracy in Cuba – and all corners of the earth, I suppose. That is a truly wonderful quality. It is just that, at times, I too get a little intransigent, a little desperate. Those may not be the most favorable of human qualities to survive this war in Cuba. If you must know, I have done much for the Cubans – as I assure you I am Cuban (or once was) – and have been let down, time and time again, by the majority of them. But it is that minority, that single shimmering star surrounded by shit-clouds, that I would die for. Perhaps that’s just the desperation talking.

    Secondly, I will be contributing more often to this forum, as I have lost interest in berating Phil Peters and men of his kind. Thus, there will be no reason to question my committment to the cause, nor my identity.

    Thirdly, to Mr. Pototo, Fuck You. Concerning my identity, which you evidently pine to know, you should know that I am not who you are refering to. In fact, I am clueless of who you speak of, nor do I care to know. I am not in the religion/bible-pilfering business. I am in the pro-Cuban-democracy/pro-Cuban-dissident/Anti-Fidelista-y-Tiranos/Kill-Fidel-and-Party-Officials business.

    Un abrazo to you all hard-liners.

  17. Where to start?
    Glad your back and stay with us.
    These are indeed idiots who are only wanting to be divisive.
    You are not worthy of a response.

  18. Pototo,

    But you have just given me a response.

    I desire not to be divisive. As I have mentioned, though we are on the same team, I will not fail to voice myself, express dissent, whenever the occassion merits such a response.

  19. Guys and Gals; you folks have been entertaining, but I sense all the discord comes from misunderstandings. I believe all of you have your hearts in the right place, so lets chalk it up to passion and move on in our battle against the real scumbags on the island and here in the US. Although, I have to admit that I love the passion…

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