House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman
For IMMEDIATE Release – December 13, 2011
Ros-Lehtinen Joined by Menendez, Rubio, Diaz-Balart, Sires, Rivera, Other Members of Congress in Nominating Biscet, Cuba’s ‘Ladies in White’ for Nobel Peace Prize
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been joined by U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), and U.S. Reps. Dan Burton (R-IN), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), David Rivera (R-FL), and Robert Turner (R-NY) in nominating human rights activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Cuba’s Ladies in White for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“As the Castro regime escalates its violent attacks against the Cuban people, it is important to recognize the courageous work of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Cuba’s Ladies in White to promote human rights and basic freedoms for the citizens of Cuba.
“Dr. Biscet’s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has made him a target of the Cuban regime as he has spent the past decade in and out of Castro’s gulags. He was released from his most recent prison sentence in March 2011 and has continued to peacefully advocate for reform.
“‘Las Damas de Blanco’ (the Ladies in White) is an organization created by the relatives of political prisoners after the Black Spring crackdown in 2003. Even once some of their family members were released from Castro’s prisons, the Ladies in White continue to non-violently march through the streets of Cuba. Their commitment to freedom is best expressed in the words of one of their founders, the late Laura Pollan, who said, ‘I started fighting for my husband, then for the group, and now it’s for changes for the better of the country.’ Ms. Pollan passed away in October, only months after her husband was released from prison. Her valiant efforts and heroic attempt to be a voice for the Cuban people will never be forgotten.
“Just last week, we were reminded of the brutality which the Cuban people continue to endure when the regime in Havana arrested more than 200 Cuban dissidents who were peacefully demonstrating in honor of Human Rights Day.
“By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. Biscet and the Ladies in White, the world will send a powerful message of support to the citizens of Cuba and all those around the world suffering under oppressive regimes. I urge my colleagues in Congress to join myself, Senators Menendez and Rubio, and Congressmen Burton, Engel, Sires, Diaz-Balart, Rivera, and Turner in nominating these human rights champions for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.”
NOTE: On Wednesday, December 14th, Ros-Lehtinen will be speaking at an event hosted by the National Endowment for Democracy honoring Ms. Laura Pollan. Please click here for more details.