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Public Statements

With Former Cuban Political Prisoners Facing Worsening Humanitarian Conditions In Spain, Ros-Lehtinen Asks Secretary Of State Clinton To Review Sponsor Program For Them In The U.S.

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, sent letters, available here and here, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that the State Department review the abysmal humanitarian conditions of exiled Cuban political prisoners in Spain and consider a plan put forth by prominent local Cuban American activists.

Their plan would pair the Cubans released by the regime and forced into exile in Spain with U.S. residents who would be responsible for all costs so that the Cuban nationals would not be public charges.

Ros-Lehtinen also gave the Secretary a letter regarding an agreement that the State Department had with her where the Department would notify her of U.S. travel by Cuban regime officials and the issuance of visas for Cuban officials to travel to the U.S.

Ros-Lehtinen's statement:

"I have asked Secretary Clinton to review the humanitarian conditions of the exiled political prisoners living in Spain and determine if political asylum and resettlement in the U.S. were possible. I also asked the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to determine if the Cubans living in Spain could be helped by this international body.

These former prisoners of conscience were jailed on trumped up charges simply because they peacefully dared to oppose the dictatorship. The Cuban Catholic Church's agreement with Raul Castro forced most of them into exile as a condition for their liberation and since then, these freedom fighters have been living under awful humanitarian conditions in Spain.

If the U.S. government would grant the Cuban nationals entry into our country, each Cuban would have a sponsor who would bear all costs. I urge Secretary Clinton to help the exiled Cuban political prisoners living in Spain obtain the assistance they should receive as refugees. One of the most heart wrenching realities of the Castro tyranny is Cuban families scattered all over the world because they refuse to live under the repression of the totalitarian police state of Raul and Fidel Castro.

I also asked Secretary Clinton to advise the Committee and me whether the State Department will honor the agreement it had with me to provide us with advance notification of Cuban regime officials requesting visas to travel to the U.S."

NOTE: In addition to the letter to Secretary Clinton regarding the former Cuban political prisoners living in Spain, Ros-Lehtinen also sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asking the international body for its assistance with the former Cuban political prisoners living in Spain.


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