By Brian Alexander | Cuba Policy Foundation
Washington, DC, April 11, 2003 - The House Cuba Working Group issued the following statement regarding the recent arrest and sentencing of dissidents in Cuba:
STATEMENT OF THE CUBA WORKING GROUP | United States House of Representatives
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. Eliminating restrictions by the US government on our own citizens will allow for a free-flow of ideas between Americans and Cubans.
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.
The House Cuba Working Group (CWG) is a fifty-member, bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives, dedicated to easing the Cuban embargo and advancing U.S. policy goals in Cuba. For a listing of the members of the CWG, and to read the CWG’s “Review of U.S. Policy Toward Cuba,” visit [url=http://www.cubafoundation.org/congress.html]http://www.cubafoundation.org/congress.html[/url]