U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, released the following statement on the publication of the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report for 2012. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: "Once again, the State Department has found that the Castro regime is among the worst violators of human rights for its restrictive nature on individuals' religious freedom.
"The freedom of religion is rightly considered one of the most fundamental human rights because religious identity touches every aspect of a person's individual nature and way of life. A regime that does not respect such a basic right does not respect its people; in fact, it demonstrates its contempt for them. For example, Castro's operatives attacked a pastor who was on his way to protest the regime's oppressive policies, leaving him unconscious and, as medical authorities later found, with brain damage. The regime continues its campaign against those who bravely call for democracy and freedom for the island, and it relentlessly attacks its opposition -- many of whom find themselves cast away in one of Castro's many gulags. Those languishing in one of Castro's gulags because of their faith are simply one of many who bravely call for democracy and freedom on the island. Another example are the Ladies in White, who continue to be harassed, detained, and beaten by Castro agents simply for marching to church every Sunday to peacefully protest the unjust imprisonment of those who speak out against the regime.
"The Obama Administration talks a good game regarding religious freedom, but its actions haven't lived up to this talk. By continuing to give concessions to this murderous regime, the Administration enables the Castro brothers to continue disregarding human rights and democratic ideals that we claim to cherish. In the end, this report confirms what we should know well by now: the dictator Raul Castro is not interested in bringing real change to the island, but rather is committed to maintaining total control while ignoring the true interests and needs of the Cuban people."