U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after speaking earlier today with Cuban democracy activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet:
"I am honored that I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Dr. Angel E. Garrido, the Vice-President of Biscet's Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, earlier today about several important topics related to Cuba.
"Dr. Biscet and I discussed the Castro regime's deeply troubling scheme to drill for oil off the Cuban coast. As the oil rig continues to get closer to Cuba, the Obama administration has taken no action to prevent this dangerous plan from moving forward, even though it threatens our environment and will enrich the Castro dictatorship. Practices paving the way for Repsol to do business with the Cuban regime threaten our interests and security and empower a state-sponsor of terrorism.
"We also discussed the UN's disappointing, though unsurprising, vote condemning the U.S. economic embargo against the Cuban regime. It is troubling that the Castro apologists keep acting as though the U.S., and not the Castro regime, is in the wrong, and keep working to implement new policies which will only tighten the regime's grip on power. Responsible nations must band together to implement the strongest pressure possible against the regime, and express solidarity with the pro-democracy leaders in Cuba who speak out for freedom and human rights.
"Finally, I was honored to speak with Dr. Biscet about my nomination of him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Too often, human rights violations are glossed over and ignored. But we cannot be silent and turn a blind eye to the Cuban regime's brutality, especially as it has increased recently with new crackdowns, including the beatings of innocent women. Dr. Biscet knows this better than anyone, and is a living example of courage in the face of oppression. I am honored to have my colleagues in Congress join me in nominating Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Cuba's Ladies in White for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for their amazing commitment to freedom for the Cuban people."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen 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), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), David Rivera (R-FL), Michael Grimm (R-NY), 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.