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Hunger Strike Underway by Pro-Democracy Activists in Cuba

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, just 90 miles away from the coast of the United States there exists a murderous, terrorist regime on the island of Cuba. It is a regime that harbors terrorists, that funds terrorism, that has even held an American hostage since the summer of '09, and that denies all basic human rights to its people.

Currently, 26 pro-democracy activists, it has been reported, have initiated a hunger strike. It started with Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez on September 7 of 2012 in order to protest the brutal oppression by the Castro thugs against the Cuban people and against the political prisoners, and it has now been joined, as I said, by another 25.

You're not going to see that on the front pages of the newspapers. These are individuals who, for some reason, the press will not cover. The only thing you'll see about the Castro regime is, frankly, the beauty of the beaches and the island and the fact that they have old cars--such a quaint thing. It's not quaint when your human rights are violated and when you are forced to drive 50-year-old automobiles--if you're lucky to even get one of those.

Since these individuals, these heroes, are for some reason being denied the coverage that they deserve, I come to the floor to mention who they are--these heroes that we have to support, that we have to defend, and that we can never forget. So I am going to read their names.

I mentioned Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez. Jorge Vazquez Chaviano, Arturo Conde Zamora, Yerandi Martinez Rodriguez, Orlando Almenares Reyes, Luis Enrique Ponce Sanchez, Roberley Villalobos Torres, Israel Robert Isaac, Yuniel Alvarez Garcia, Luis Enrique Santos Caballero, Yosmel Martinez Corcho, Alberto Reyes Morales, Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello--by the way, who is a very well-known pro-democracy leader of Cuba and whose health is, frankly, in poor shape--Omar Pedroso Suarez, Yadira Rodriguez Bombino, Ibis Maria Rodriguez Gonzalez, Fermin Zamora Vazquez, Yasmani Nicle Abad, Leonardo Cancio Santana, Pedro Fernandez Vega Cortes, Arcelio Lopez Rojas, Misahel Valdes Diaz, and Jorge Luis Recio Arias.

These heroes, these pro-democracy activists and heroes, have stood up and are standing up to the Castro dictatorship with whatever they have, including their health and their bodies. They need our prayers. They need our support. They need our solidarity at this pivotal time in their struggle for Cuba's freedom.

Mr. Speaker, may God protect these brave heroes. May the international community demonstrate the solidarity that they deserve--and yes, we here in the United States Congress and in this country must continue to work to do what we can to help them and others achieve their final day of freedom.

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