U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today refuted recent assertions by apologists for the Cuban regime that women are thriving in Cuba. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Contrary to the assertions of those who are always trying to invent ways to heap praise on their favorite dictators in Havana, women are the biggest victims of the Cuban regime. A failed economy, suppression of dissent and the mass jailing of regime critics all disproportionately hurt women.
"The regime exploits women and children, depriving them of their dignity, freedom, and fundamental human rights. Women are forced to have abortions as part of the regime's scheme to cook the books on Cuba's infant mortality rate. Women are also forced to be a part of the island's sex tourism industry for the dictatorship's personal gain.
"Those who believe that women are treated well by the regime in Cuba should speak with the brave Ladies in White. These courageous women -- the mothers, wives, and sisters of many of those unjustly imprisoned by the Castro regime -- are routinely assaulted by the regime's thugs. Still, they refuse to back down in their peaceful protests.
"It is very unfortunate that some are willing to lie about the plight of female victims of the Castro regime in an attempt to fabricate a silver lining to tyranny. The rulers in Havana want the same fate for every person in Cuba, man or woman, and that is a life of subservience to the regime."
NOTE: An article praising Cuba's treatment of women, titled "Cuba May Be the Most Feminist Country in Latin America," was recently published by the International Herald Tribune.