U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding Cuban refugees being detained by the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and facing the possibility of repatriation to Cuba. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"It's appalling that the government of the Bahamas is considering repatriating Cuban refugees who have risked their lives seeking freedom from the brutal and repressive Castro regime. If the Government of The Bahamas chooses to repatriate these refugees, it would be responsible for the inhumane treatment and terrible consequences that they would most certainly face upon their return.
"The refugees have publicly stated that they fear for their well-being if they were to return to Cuba and have begun a hunger strike to protest repatriation. To return these refugees to the place they risked their lived to flee from would not only be failing to uphold human rights and dignity, but would amount to being complicit in the repugnant policies of the Castro regime, which has intensified its brutal tactics in recent years.
"I urge the government of the Bahamas to do the right thing and recognize that these refugees must be granted political asylum and given the proper care that victims of oppression require. These brave individuals should know that there are those who stand with them in solidarity in their struggle for a new and better life, free from the oppression of brutal and authoritarian regimes, and the government of the Bahamas must know that the world is watching how it treats those who seek asylum on its shores."