U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, met today with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, to examine the continued assault on human rights and democracy in the Western Hemisphere and security challenges facing the region.
"At my meeting today with Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson, we discussed several issues that are vital to the Western Hemisphere. It was clearly apparent during this week's Organization of American States General Assembly meeting that the ALBA tyrants would like nothing more than to strip the mandates of an independent body like the Inter-American Human Rights Commission which provides a vital forum to bring to light human rights abuses within the Hemisphere. Despots are trying to sweep under the rug their deplorable record on human rights and reverse the democratic progress achieved thus far in the region.
During the meeting, we discussed the current human rights situation in Cuba, particularly the increase of abuse, detentions, and assaults by the Castro regime against pro-democracy advocates. We then turned to the on-going denial of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela, where I conveyed my belief that the Venezuelan people should have the right to a free, fair and transparent election in October.
With regards to the influence of Iran in the Western Hemisphere, I conveyed to the Assistant Secretary my concern that the regimes of Castro, Ortega, Chavez, Correa, and Morales continue to actively support both the Iranian and Syrian regimes. We must ensure that our policies towards the region strengthens democratic principles, respects human rights, protects our national security, and advances U.S. interests. "