South Florida Members of Congress Hold Press Conference in Support of Cuban Hunger Strikers

Press Release

By:  Mario Diaz-Balart Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Date: Sept. 17, 2012
Location: Miami, FL

This afternoon, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Congressman David Rivera (R-FL), and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), held a press conference in support of the more than 25 human rights and pro-democracy activists who are on a hunger strike. The hunger strike, initiated to protest the regime's brutal oppression and unjust imprisonment of political prisoners, includes well-known pro-democracy leaders such as Marta Beatriz Roque and Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez". Janisset Rivero-Gutierrez of Directorio Democratico Cubano, Sylvia Iriondo of M.A.R. Por Cuba, and Berta Antunez, sister of Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez", also spoke in support of these heroic activists.

Numerous members of the international community have expressed their support of the activists, including The Community of Democracies Parliamentary Forum, Antonio Lopez-Isturiz, Secretary General of the EPP (European People's Party), Jose Ramon Garcia Hernandez, the International Secretary for Partido Popular (PP) in Spain, Michael Kaminski, Member of the European Parliament, Elmar Brok, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament, Uruguayan Congressmen Jaime Trobo and Martin Elgue, The Dominican Patriotic Council -- Hipolito Ramirez, Former Uruguayan PresidentLuis Alberto Lacalle, Former Salvadoran PresidentArmando Calderon Sol, The Mexican Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Front -- Miguel Hernandez.

Said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart: "The people of Cuba have been deprived of the most basic rights, and these brave activists are protesting with the last resource they have left: their own bodies. Increasingly brutal repression and the unjustifiable imprisonment of political prisoners motivate their impassioned calls for freedom and human rights. I thank my colleagues who have spoken out in support of their cause, and the growing list of leaders and organizations from across the globe who stand in solidarity with these courageous heroes of Cuba's pro-democracy movement."

Said Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: "These courageous Cuban pro democracy activists desperately want the community of responsible nations to hear their pleas demanding freedom, liberty and respect for their human rights. My South Florida Congressional colleague, Mario Diaz-Balart, as well as the groups that joined us today fully support their efforts to focus world attention on the repression committed by the Castro regime against anyone who dares oppose them. Our message today to our Cuban brothers and sisters is that we stand in solidarity with them and we will continue denouncing the Castro brothers at every opportunity we get."

Said former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart:"It is important for the heroic Cuban hunger strikers to know of the extensive international solidarity they have generated for the cause of Cuba's freedom."