Primavera Negra

Cuba violence aims to silence moral foes

Posted on Thu, May. 11, 2006

Cuba violence aims to silence moral foes

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators should be commended for spotlighting
the plight of Cuba’s peaceful dissidents, who are increasingly repressed
by the Cuban government. Such attention, and corresponding international
pressure, are the only defenses that these courageous activists have
against the ruthless Castro dictatorship.

Filed this week, the senators’ resolution ”condemns the brutality of
the regime of Fidel Castro toward Martha Beatriz Roque,” a prominent
dissident recently attacked by a government-directed mob. It further
calls for the regime to release its political prisoners and for
continued international support of Cuba’s pro-democracy leaders.

Fighting for human rights

Introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., the resolution has
garnered seven cosponsors so far. They include Sens. Bill Nelson and Mel
Martinez, John McCain, R-Ariz., Joe Biden, D-Del., and Robert Menendez,

There’s every reason for the Senate to support the resolution
unanimously. It would be a vote of confidence and moral support for the
beleaguered souls pushing for democracy and human rights in Cuba.

Ms. Roque, for example, was leaving her house to attend an event
sponsored by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana on April 25. Members
of a ”rapid-response brigade” punched her in the eye, knocked her down
and kicked her in the stomach. One man even followed her back into the
house to level a blow to her head. This is what a mob of regime
militants does to a woman who is 61 years old and on conditional release
from prison because of frail health.

Ms. Roque still has a 20-year sentence hanging over her for nothing more
than publicly opposing the government. Earlier, she served three years
in prison for coauthoring a manifesto criticizing the regime. Yet she
still leads the Assembly to Promote a Civil Society, which gathered some
300 dissidents from different groups in a conference last year.

Increasing brutality

The U.S. State Department also condemned the harassment against other
noted dissidents who were invited to the conference, among them Félix
Bonne, an assembly leader, and Elsa Morejón, wife of long-suffering
political prisoner Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet.

Cuba routinely uses violence against dissidents to stifle their voices.
In fact, the attacks and brutality have been steadily increasing. But
the regime is mistaken. Cuba’s opposition will not be silenced.

The dissidents have no physical or legal defenses against the brutal
government. But they have moral high ground.

This is why the international community, like the Senate, must support
Cuba’s peaceful dissidents and pressure the regime to stop its abuses.

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