U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the following statement today urging Pope Benedict XVI to meet with Cuban dissidents during his visit to Cuba at the end of the month:
"The Castro regime has ramped up its brutal attacks against the people of Cuba ahead of the Pope's visit to the imprisoned island. Despite the threat of severe retribution, dissidents are refusing to be silenced and are peacefully demonstrating to raise awareness about their plight. These brave Cubans are risking everything on behalf of the Cuban people, and they deserve the full support of free people all around the world.
"The Castro regime employs ruthless tactics to silence dissidents on the island and keep the world in the dark about its abuses. It is my hope that Pope Benedict will show his support for the Cuban people by meeting with peaceful dissident groups, including those practicing their faith while bringing attention to human rights violations, the Ladies in White, and Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (Antunez).
"We must not allow the Castro regime to pull a veil over its tremendous sins against the Cuban people."