Speaker Boehner Denounces Attacks on Cuban Democracy Leaders

Thursday, April 9, 2015
Speaker Boehner Calls on President Obama to Denounce Attacks on Cuban Democracy Leaders

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today called on President Obama to condemn attacks on a group of Cuban democracy leaders, who were attacked yesterday by supporters of Raul Castro’s communist regime at a peaceful protest in advance of the Summit of the Americas in Panama:

The assault on Cuban democracy protestors in Panama City, including Jorge Luis García Pérez – who attended the State of the Union as my guest this year – is an outrage and a reminder of the brutal character of the Castro regime. It raises serious questions about the wisdom of revisiting diplomatic relations with Cuba and removing the country from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror while this dictatorship, which practices repression at home and supports violence throughout the region, continues to hold power. I hope that President Obama, if and when he has a conversation with the Cuban dictator during the Organization of American States summit, will take the opportunity to condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms and reaffirm that the United States should and must always stand on the side of human rights and democracy against Communist tyranny.

NOTE: One of those Cuban Resistance leaders who was beaten in the Panama attacks was Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez, known as “Antúnez,” who was a guest of Speaker Boehner at the president’s State of the Union address this year. Antunez is a leader of a non-violent movement for human rights and democracy in Cuba. He spent more than 17 years in jail as a political prisoner, after being arrested for publicly denouncing the oppressive Castro regime. Since his release from prison in 2007, Antunez has continued to advocate for the freedoms and rights of all Cubans. In an interview, Antunez stressed his commitment to this movement, “I think that my faith in the ideas for which I fight never ceased and never will cease. I believe that faith in God and in this just cause which I defend is what helped me survive.”