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Members of Congress Comment on Letter Sent by Former Cuban Prisoners to Rep. Peterson

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congressmen Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), along with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), today commented on a letter sent to Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) by 256 Cuban former political prisoners who suffered a combined 3,551 years as political prisoners in the Castros' gulags. The letter by the former political prisoners was in reaction to comments made by Rep. Peterson last week when he declared that, "…people who oppose [H.R. 4645] are not speaking on behalf of the Cuban people, regardless of what they say."

"No one has more moral authority to speak regarding the Cuban tragedy than Cuban political prisoners and former political prisoners. This letter by 256 former Cuban political prisoners is extremely powerful and must be listened to," commented Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

"Some of my colleagues believe that enhancing trade and doing away with regulations with the dictatorial regime in Cuba will somehow improve the lot of the Cuban people. The world has been trading with Cuba for the last half a century and what benefits has this brought to the Cuban people? None. On the contrary, Cubans have endured more oppression and repression at every level of society, from preschool to the workplace.

Enhanced US trade to Cuba will only add to the coffers of a regime that does everything within its grasp to take away every right from the Cuban people. The letter of these brave former political prisoners should bring some common sense to those who put profit over freedom," declared Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

"These former political prisoners experienced the cruelty of the Castro regime for decades, and they understand how increased resources can and will be used to repress civil society in Cuba," said Congressman Sires. "Their voices must be respected and heard."

"The signatories of this letter to Rep. Peterson not only represent the suffering of the Cuban people, they are also the embodiment of the struggle for Cuba's freedom," remarked Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

Below, please find the text of letter sent to Congressman Peterson today along with the list of signatories, including number of years as political prisoners:

June 15, 2010

Chairman Collin Peterson

Committee on Agriculture

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Peterson:

We are former Cuban political prisoners who have spent a combined 3,551 years in Castro's gulag. We are living testimony of the unspeakable tortures, cruelty and deprivations of the military dictatorship of the Castro brothers.

You recently released a statement concerning H.R. 4645 claiming that, "…people who oppose this bill are not speaking on behalf of the Cuban people, regardless of what they say." Not only is your statement untrue, but also profoundly insulting to us. We are a community that is comprised of victims of the Castro dictatorship. Mr. Peterson, we are "Cuban people" and we wholeheartedly oppose your bill.

Your statement is all the more offensive when you take into account that the Cuban-American community has four Members that we elect to the U.S. House of Representatives and all four oppose your legislation as well. How dare you profess to know more about the Cuban people, or our plight, than the Members who are elected by us and the family members of Cubans from the island? You have every right to try to advance your agricultural agenda. However, you are not entitled to question our community, which is full of Castro's victims -- who have suffered brutality that you could not even fathom -- and whose relatives on the island continue to be the victims of that dictatorship's daily repression.

You have consistently demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to the suffering of our people and an apparent lack of awareness regarding the important leverage that U.S. sanctions represents to our struggle for Cuba's freedom. You recently stated, "None of us support the Cuban Government's detainment of political prisoners. However, these policies we have in place today have done nothing to remove the regime or to improve the situation for political prisoners." Nonetheless, you have never taken the time to meet with any of us, nor have you ever invited us to testify before your committee. If you had, you would not be able to ignore the fact that every dollar your legislation seeks to place in the coffers of the Castro regime will only be used to further repress the Cuban people. Should this legislation pass, Mr. Peterson, we trust that you will be prepared to assume the responsibility for the increased bloodshed it will cause the people of Cuba.

Mr. Peterson, you owe us, our community and our elected Representatives an immediate apology for your offensive statement. Though you may disagree with our views, we hope you will not continue to impugn us for our suffering, deeply held beliefs and tragic experiences.

Sincerely,

Ignacio Cuesta Valle 29 years in prison

Antonio López Muñoz 28 years in prison

Dasio René Hernández Peña 28 years in prison

Dr. Alberto Fibla 28 years in prison

Pastor Macurán 28 years in prison

Roberto Martin Perez 28 years in prison

Roberto Perdomo 28 years in prison

Teodoro González 28 years in prison

Jose L. Pujals 27 years in prison

Miguel A. Alvarez Cardentey 27 years in prison

Aldo Chaviano 26 years in prison

Eleno Oviedo 26 years in prison

Pablo Prieto 26 years in prison

Ramón Méndez Pimentel 26 years in prison

Ramon Conte 26 years in prison

Víctor M. Cantón 26 years in prison

Alberto Grau 25 years in prison

Angel L. Arguelles 25 years in prison

Felipe Alonso 25 years in prison

Orlando R. Molina 25 years in prison

Osvaldo Figueroa 25 years in prison

Ricardo Montero Duque 25 years in prison

Angel Pardo Mazorra 24 years in prison

Ramón San Roman 24 years in prison

Reinaldo Figueroa 24 years in prison

Alberto Jané 23 years in prison

Armando Yong 23 years in prison

Oscar Rodríguez Terrero 23 years in prison

Reinaldo López Lima 23 years in prison

Armando Valladares 22 years in prison

Basilio Guzmán 22 years in prison

Carlos Pons 22 years in prison

Efraín Llerena 22 years in prison

Ernesto Díaz 22 years in prison

Eugenio Silva 22 years in prison

José A. Lamas 22 years in prison

Silvino Rodríguez Barrientos 22 years in prison

Abel Nieves 21 years in prison

Bruno Salas 21 years in prison

J. René Ramos 21 years in prison

José J. Santana 21 years in prison

Roberto Ascue 21 years in prison

Adalberto Sánchez Zamora 20 years in prison

Alfredo Mustelier Nuevo 20 years in prison

Angel De Fana 20 years in prison

Geovani Perera 20 years in prison

Huber Matos 20 years in prison

Jaime Costa 20 years in prison

Julio R. Sosa 20 years in prison

Lázaro Guerra 20 years in prison

Olvildo Praderas Montero 20 years in prison

Roger Reyes 20 years in prison

Ana Lazara Rodriguez 19 years in prison

Angel Alfonso Alemán 19 years in prison

Edelmiro Delgado 19 years in prison

Eduardo de Juan Machado 19 years in prison

Ereido Cruz 19 years in prison

Gustavo Gallardo 19 years in prison

José M. Del Pino 19 years in prison

Luis Zúñiga 19 years in prison

Marcelo Morgado 19 years in prison

Raimundo J. Solís 19 years in prison

Alejandro Moreno 18 years in prison

Aurelio Candelaria 18 years in prison

Daniel Gómez 18 years in prison

Eddie Artze 18 years in prison

Eduardo Piedra 18 years in prison

Humberto Hernández 18 years in prison

Joaquím Chanying 18 years in prison

José F. Pérez Sánchez 18 years in prison

Juan Prieto 18 years in prison

Martín Hernández 18 years in prison

Miriam Ortega 18 years in prison

Rafael Rodríguez 18 years in prison

Raúl Pérez Coloma 18 years in prison

Roberto Gesni 18 years in prison

Rubén Gonzalo García 18 years in prison

Servando Infante 18 years in prison

Arsenio Parodi 17 years in prison

Fidelina Fernández 17 years in prison

Georgina Cid 17 years in prison

José A. Núñez 17 years in prison

Mario E. Atía 17 years in prison

Orlando Castro 17 years in prison

René Cruz 17 years in prison

Roberto Jiménez 17 years in prison

Roberto Rivero Gómez 17 years in prison

Angel Lucena 16 years in prison

Antonio García Rivero 16 years in prison

Caridad Roque 16 years in prison

Evaristo Sotolongo 16 years in prison

Francisco Javier Denis 16 years in prison

Jesús Rodriguez Beruvides 16 years in prison

José Carreño 16 years in prison

Luis González Infante 16 years in prison

Manuel Barba 16 years in prison

Mario Fajardo 16 years in prison

Mercedes Peña 16 years in prison

Pedro Fuentes Cid 16 years in prison

Raúl García 16 years in prison

Agustín Robaina 15 years in prison

Alberto Montes 15 years in prison

Angel Cuadra 15 years in prison

Angel M. García 15 years in prison

Arelis Rodríguez San Román 15 years in prison

Carlos Calvo 15 years in prison

Delio Blanco 15 years in prison

Edel Ravelo 15 years in prison

Francisco Cruz 15 years in prison

Gerardo Rodríguez San Román 15 years in prison

José Chirino 15 years in prison

Juan Ramón Díaz 15 years in prison

Luis J. Chirino 15 years in prison

Mario Cruz Martínez 15 years in prison

Nin Amaro 15 years in prison

Orlando Martínez Paz 15 years in prison

Ramón González 15 years in prison

Ramon "Rino" Puig 15 years in prison

Raúl Arteaga 15 years in prison

Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román 15 years in prison

Rudesindo Rodríguez Blanco 15 years in prison

Tebelio Rodríguez San Román 15 years in prison

Teresa Bastanzuri 15 years in prison

Enrique Cepero 14 years in prison

Elio Cuencio 14 years in prison

Germán González 14 years in prison

Jorge Dulzaides 14 years in prison

Omelio Rodríguez 14 years in prison

Angel Reyes 13 years in prison

Arbelio Marin 13 years in prison

Bernardo Ricardo 13 years in prison

Eduardo J. Cano 13 years in prison

Eleuterio Martínez 13 years in prison

Heriberto Castillo 13 years in prison

Jorge Guzmán Chaple 13 years in prison

Alicia de Busto 12 years in prison

Angel García 12 years in prison

Aniceto Cuestra 12 years in prison

Celedonio Invierno 12 years in prison

Feliciano Mohamed 12 years in prison

Jorge Luis Delgado 12 years in prison

Jorge Valdez Paez 12 years in prison

Jorge Portuondo Jorge 12 years in prison

José A. Jiménez 12 years in prison

José A. Lima 12 years in prison

Juan Besu 12 years in prison

Jose Luis Gallareta 12 years in prison

Juan Casas 12 years in prison

Juan Valdés de Armas 12 years in prison

Juan Medina Plata 12 years in prison

Medardo M. Salcedo 12 years in prison

Pablo Castro 12 years in prison

Rafael Marques 12 years in prison

Reinaldo Aquit 12 years in prison

Jesús González Martínez 11 years in prison

Edgardo Llompar 11 years in prison

Alberto Abreu 10 years in prison

Armando Loo 10 years in prison

Aurelio Vázquez 10 years in prison

Candelario L. Puentes 10 years in prison

Emilio González 10 years in prison

Enrique Pérez García 10 years in prison

Enrique Ruano 10 years in prison

Hector Sanchez 10 years in prison

Fermín Amador Chamizo 10 years in prison

Fernando Arias 10 years in prison

Fr. Miguel Angel Loredo, OFM 10 years in prison

Frank Perez 10 years in prison

Gladys Ruisánchez 10 years in prison

Gloria Argudín 10 years in prison

Guillermo Rodríguez 10 years in prison

Idalberto Sánchez Vidal 10 years in prison

Irma Ferneandez Llorca 10 years in prison

Jesús Pérez 10 years in prison

Jose A. Gutierrez-Solana 10 years in prison

Jose Bello 10 years in prison

Julio Cepero 10 years in prison

Lionel Rodriguez 10 years in prison

Manuel Amaro 10 years in prison

Manuel Jiménez 10 years in prison

Mariano Rodríguez 10 years in prison

Mireya Muro Morales 10 years in prison

Nelson Rodríguez 10 years in prison

Oneida Fernández 10 years in prison

Pedro Juan López Diaz 10 years in prison

Raul Martinez 10 years in prison

Regino García 10 years in prison

Renan Yanes 10 years in prison

Ramon Couto 10 years in prison

Rene Piedra 10 years in prison

Reinaldo Morales 10 years in prison

Roberto Gessne 10 years in prison

Rodolfo Masó 10 years in prison

Sigfredo López 10 years in prison

Teresa Pérez Pous 10 years in prison

Tony Artiles 10 years in prison

Vicente Gener 10 years in prison

Víctor M. Hernández 10 years in prison

Virgilio Morera 10 years in prison

Arturo Estevez 9 years in prison

Berta Cantón 9 years in prison

Casimiro Lopez Periu 9 years in prison

Domingo Martínez 9 years in prison

Efraín Taquechel 9 years in prison

Elías Gonzalo García 9 years in prison

Eugenio Llamera 9 years in prison

Gabriel Aztengo 9 years in prison

Gerardo Rodriguez Capote 9 years in prison

Gregorio Ariosa 9 years in prison

Jorge Fernández Rodríguez 9 years in prison

José R. Toledo 9 years in prison

Luis Masón 9 years in prison

Marcos González 9 years in prison

María Elena Pujol 9 years in prison

Miguel Hernández Falero 9 years in prison

Nelly Rojas 9 years in prison

Orlando Lopez Periu 9 years in prison

Raúl Martínez 9 years in prison

Tomás Benito Paz 9 years in prison

Adolfo González García 8 years in prison

Juan Alborna Saldo 9 years in prison

Enrique Ruano 8 years in prison

Pedro Corzo 8 years in prison

Servando Mesa 8 years in prison

Angel Nicasio Buen 7 years in prison

Elías Gonzalo 7 years in prison

Hernán Reyes 7 years in prison

Alfredo Garcia Menocal 6 years in prison

Jorge Cruz 6 years in prison

Elba Gonzále 6 years in prison

Elda Torres 6 years in prison

Emelina Nuñez 6 years in prison

Ildefonso Pérez 6 years in prison

Ino Martell Casuso 6 years in prison

José Luis Fernández 6 years in prison

Ana María Rojas 5 years in prison

Carmelo Zamora 5 years in prison

Carmen Voloso 5 years in prison

Dionisio Gonzalo López 5 years in prison

Dr. Tomás Barrios 5 years in prison

Eduardo "Eddy" Arango 5 years in prison

José Albertini 5 years in prison

Maritza Lugo 5 years in prison

Miguel Tatte 5 years in prison

Roberto Ruiz 5 years in prison

Agustín de Jesús Lastre Barroso 4 years in prison

Carmen Arias 4 years in prison

Emiliano Reinoso 4 years in prison

Ignacio R. Barrios 4 years in prison

Juan Hernánez Pujol 4 years in prison

Gladys Campanería 3 years in prison

Ileana Curra 3 years in prison

Pedro Morales 3 years in prison

Alvin Ross 2 years in prison

Sergio Llanes 2 years in prison

Vicente Echerri 2 years in prison


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