Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Congress Speaks Up Against Castro

Today Congress will consider a resolution condemning the July arrests of members of the opposition in Cuba by the totalitarian dictatorship in Havana. The resolution is sponosored by Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

This piece of federal legislation comes in reaction to the July 22 events in Havana, Cuba when members of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, were planning a peaceful demonstration in front of the French Embassy in Cuba and were victims of the members of the Castro's dictatorship government. At least 20 of them were arrested. Among those arrested were leaders Martha Beatriz Roque, Felix Bonne Carcasses and Rene Gómez Manzano. Gómez Manzano and other pro-democracy activists remain in prison.

The resolution should come to the house floor this morning.

UPDATE: The vote for this resolution has been pushed back till Thursday (probably with all the ruckus caused by the Delay situation)

The New York Sun wrote a great editorial.... please read....

The New York Sun Editorial
September 28, 2005

Congress Confronts Castro

Congress is scheduled to vote today on whether to get tough with the Cuban tyrant, Fidel Castro. It is now more than two months since Mr. Castro began his latest crackdown on his citizens. The measure the House is scheduled to vote on today, House Resolution 388, is expected to pass, categorically condemning Castro's regime, his imprisonment of his own people for the crime of wanting democracy, and the European Union's coddling of the despot.

After the crackdown began July 22, the number of dissidents arrested has reached at least 50, of whom more than a dozen remained in jail at last count. They join 61 of the 75 dissidents who were arrested in a similar wave of repression in 2003. A month ago, one of those arrested in July, Rene Gomez Manzano, started a hunger strike ["Cuba's Ganji," August 22].Since then, several others have adopted that form of protest, including a journalist, Victor Arroyo, who is now in the third week of his own hunger strike, and an activist, Felix Navarro. Messrs. Arroyo and Navarro were arrested in 2003.

In statements to The New York Sun in August, spokeswomen for both the White House and the State Department called for an end to the repression in Cuba. Now the House will issue a call of its own. The proposed resolution notes the plight of the jailed dissidents. It also reminds the world that Castro still jails anyone with the temerity to try to leave the island, that he still offers safe harbor to American lawbreakers, and that his regime is still listed by our state department as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The resolution also notes that throughout the latest repression, the European Union has been lifting, not tightening, its sanctions. After the 2003 crackdown, the EU countries had cut off high-level official contact with the regime and had started inviting dissidents to events at their embassies in Havana. The EU lost its nerve earlier this year, lulled by the release of 14 of the detainees arrested in 2003. By July, the French embassy in the enemy capital was inviting Castro's cronies to the very Bastille Day party that sparked the protests that led to the crackdown. A failure of feck is the best hope for despots like Castro, which is why today's vote in the Congress matters.

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