Menendez Statement on Political Prisoners

Friday, July 9, 2010
Menendez Statement on Cuba's Planned Release of 52 Political Prisoners

WASHINGTON – With the announcement that the Cuban government intends to release 52 political prisoners, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) released the following statement:

"While the news of an intended release of political prisoners is certainly welcome for these prisoners, their families, and their followers, history has shown that these intentions may not be realized for some time, if ever.

Such statements should not be mistaken for an unclenching of the iron first by which the Castro regime rules. We should not throw a parade for a regime that often says one thing and then does another, to include rearresting individuals it has previously made a great show of freeing.

This is the same regime that imprisoned these 52 individuals for seven years simply because they exercised free speech, the same regime continues to incarcerate many more for exercising their basic human rights, and the same regime that denies all Cuban people the everyday freedoms that we take for granted in our country. We should not believe that anything fundamental has changed when a U.S. citizen remains behind bars in Cuba, and when this action is suspiciously timed to coincide with a new corporate-backed effort in Congress to loosen trade and tourism restrictions.

The only way that the Castro regime can show that it finally believes in freedom would be to free all political prisoners, to grant full human rights to all Cuban people, and to allow the Cuban people to determine their own destiny."