Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today after news reports of the detention and beating of a Cuban dissident who testified last week via teleconference before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics.
"A number of Cuban citizens have demonstrated tremendous courage, presenting testimony to the Congress at great risk to themselves and their families," said Sen. Kerry. "Just last week, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez ("Antunez") spoke before our committee and two days later he was beaten and detained in retaliation for speaking his mind. I want to be crystal clear that I strongly condemn any efforts to intimidate Mr. Perez or any other Cuban citizen into silence. I echo the calls of my Senate colleagues, demanding an end to repression in Cuba and urging international observers to conduct an investigation into his detention."
On Thursday, June 7, 2012, at 10:45 a.m. in SD-419, the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs held a hearing on "The Path to Freedom: Countering Repression and Strengthening Civil Society in Cuba." Senator Bob Menendez, the Subcommittee Chairman, presided. The U.S. Department of State reports that short-term detentions in Cuba in December 2011 rose to the highest monthly number in 30 years.