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US Goal Should be a Cuba that is Free and Democratic
(Washington, D.C.) – Today the White House announced an exchange of prisoners and its intention to enter into discussion intended to normalize relations with Cuba.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director for The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“For decades, refugees have been forced to risk their lives to leave Cuba because of political repression, and dissidents on the island continue to live under fear of retaliation for exercising their freedom of speech. Instead of considering democratic reforms and individual rights, the dictatorship in Cuba has systematically imprisoned, tortured, and killed its enemies. That is still the reality today. There cannot be a normalization of relations with a regime that has no regard for human rights.
Like so many other actions by this White House, today’s announcement comes without benefit of consultation with Congress – and is being criticized on both sides of the aisle. The White House should not act unilaterally on so important an issue. This unilateral action on behalf of the U.S. comes with no comparable commitment to change from the Castro regime. The United States should not reward the brutal Castro regime and should recognize the negative impacts such moves will have on those who continue to seek real change and freedom in Cuba. Instead, we should work toward a free, prosperous, and democratic Cuba. It is hard to see how this announcement moves the country in that direction.
We are happy to see Alan Gross return to his family. But with today’s announcement, the world is less safe as totalitarian regimes across the globe take note that capturing or imprisoning American hostages not only will not be punished, but instead will be rewarded with policy concessions. LIBRE stands with those who continue to call for the recognition of human rights, free elections, release of political prisoners and liberty for all Cubans who, for far too long, have been oppressed.”