CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS URGED TO VISIT AFRO-CUBAN POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS
Advocates and Bloggers Highlight Racial Disparities in Cuba
WASHINGTON – U.S. based groups are urging the Congressional Black Caucus (“CBC”) to inquire about the health and safety of Cuba’s courageous political prisoners and democracy activists during their current visit to Cuba, such as Afro-Cuban prisoner of conscience Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and civil rights activist Jorge Luis Perez Garcia “Antunez.”
Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp., a Washington, D.C. advocacy group, has joined forces with Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty (BUCL.org), to highlight the plight of the island’s Afro-Cuban civil rights and democracy activists, and urge the CBC to advocate on their behalf.
Of concern to both organizations is the health of Dr. Biscet, a peaceful human rights and democracy advocate currently serving a 25-year sentence for these activities (New York Times, May 19, 2004). Dr. Biscet, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, is said to be in poor health. Antunez, who spent 17 years as a political prisoner before his release in 2007 (New York Times, April 24, 2007), has been on a peaceful hunger strike in his home since February 17th demanding the cessation of torture in Cuba’s political prisons. Cuban authorities recently assaulted Antunez’ home with tear gas (Miami Herald, March 26, 2009).
“It would be scandalous for the CBC delegation to visit the beach resort of Varadero during their trip, but not even inquire about Afro-Cuban political prisoners and democracy activists,” said Mauricio Claver Carone, Executive Director of Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp. “Dr. Biscet and Antunez are the Dr. Martin Luther King’s and Nelson Mandela’s of the 21st century,” Claver-Carone concluded.
A March 2009 report by the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies revealed that Afro-Cubans represent over 60 percent of the island’s population, but only 17% of the senior leadership of the Communist Party and 10% of the senior command of the Cuban Armed Forces. Afro-Cubans also represent 80% of Cuba’s massive prison population.
“If over half of Cuba’s population is Afro-Cuban, that means human rights abuses in Cuba are by default racial issues, as the ruling cupola remains almost entirely white,” said Henry Gomez, BUCL President. “The CBC should not stick to the program devised by their regime hosts of propaganda, beaches and monuments,” suggested Gomez
Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp. is a Washington, D.C.-based, non-partisan institution that promotes human rights and democracy.
Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty, Inc. is a Florida non-profit corporation that generates awareness about the Cuban reality. More information at BUCL.org.
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Bloggers United For Cuban Liberty
Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, Corp.