Latest Regime Attack on Cuba’s ‘Ladies in White’ is Shameful, Says Ros-Lehtinen



House Foreign Affairs Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman

For IMMEDIATE Release – March 19, 2012

Latest Regime Attack on Cuba’s ‘Ladies in White’ is Shameful, Says Ros-Lehtinen

Calls on Free Nations to Demand Release of All Political Prisoners, Request Pope to Meet with Cuban Dissidents

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today condemned the Cuban regime’s latest crackdown on peaceful protesters in Havana targeting Cuba’s ‘Ladies in White’ (Damas de Blanco), including the arrest of its leader Berta Soler (released already using the infamous and dreaded “catch and release” Castro method).  The Cuban regime has been increasing its repressive tactics against dissidents ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba, scheduled for March 26 – 28.  Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Just days before the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI, the Castro regime is conducting another round of violent crackdowns against freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and human rights in general.  The tyranny’s deliberate targeting of innocent and non-violent women, like the Ladies in White, is shameful, and reaffirms the brutal nature of the regime.

“As the situation in Cuba worsens, it is my hope that Pope Benedict XVI will meet with and engage the victims of the regime’s oppression, including the courageous Ladies in White, who are now targets of the dictatorship.  That act alone would send a powerful message to the regime, and to the world.

“I call on responsible nations to join me in demanding the immediate release of those detained, and in requesting that Pope Benedict XVI convene a meeting with freedom-loving Cuban peaceful opposition leaders such as Sara Marta Fonseca, Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, and Berta Soler to lend a much-needed voice to their daily struggles, and expose the horrific truths about the Castro regime.  I also urge the Catholic Church in Cuba to publically express support for Cuba’s peaceful internal opposition, and not deny them sanctuary.”