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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Secretary Gutierrez Statement on Human Rights Day
WASHINGTON—U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez released the following statement on Human Rights Day:
“On Human Rights Day, it is important to remember the plight of the Cuban people, who live under a totalitarian dictatorship that has denied them human rights for almost half a century. The Castro regime prevents its citizens from having an elected and democratic government, freedom of speech andfundamentalhuman rights.
“The Cuban government jails hundreds of political prisoners who continue to suffer under dismal conditions and are denied access to human rights organizations such as the International Red Cross.On this veryday, Cuban authorities havedetainedand beaten dozens of Cuban citizens whowere attempting to peacefully celebrate human rights day in Cuba.For example, according to reports from the island,Belinda Salas Tápanes, Marlenis Bermudez, Lazaro Joaquin Alonso Román, and Roberto Marrero, activists from the Latin American Federation of Rural Women (FLAMUR) organizationand the Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prisoners Association, were brutalized and detained by eight police officersled by an official from State Security.
“The Cuban people deserve to live with freedom and dignity.As President Bush stated, ‘So long as there are people who fight for liberty, the UnitedStates will stand withthem and speak out for those who have no other voice.’”
Secretary Gutierrez co-chairs the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a U.S. Cabinet-level commission formed to explore ways the United States can help hasten and ease a democratic transition in Cuba.