Diaz-Balart calls attention to Antunez’ hunger strike, supports Cuban pro-democracy leaders on House floor
By Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart
Video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB0EBL1JrtE
March 23, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC- Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) spoke tonight on the floor of the House of Representatives to call attention to the hunger strike by Cuban pro-democracy leader Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antunez”, and to reiterate his support for other Cuban pro-democracy leaders and all of Cuba’s political prisoners.
Below please find Congressman Diaz-Balart’s remarks of March 23, 2009 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:
This last Friday I had the honor of being able to speak by telephone with five brave human rights activists, pro-democracy leaders inside the totalitarian nightmare that is Castro’s Cuba.
One of the great heroes of the pro-democracy movement inside the Cuban totalitarian nightmare is Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez.” A black man now in his 40’s, “Antunez” was first imprisoned while he was in high school because of his support for democracy and his opposition to totalitarianism. For 17 years “Antunez” was regularly beaten as a political prisoner in Castro’s gulag. He never gave in. He was released from the gulag last year, but since he never surrenders, he doesn’t stop denouncing the thugs and pirates who have destroyed, impoverished and oppressed the Cuban people for 50 years, “Antunez” has been routinely detained, dozens of times, thrown into a dungeon, and subsequently released, since his release.
Some days ago “Antunez” began a hunger strike in his city of Placetas, in Sancti Spíritus province, Cuba, calling for the end of the death threats being leveled against Cuban political prisoner Mario Alberto Perez Aguilera; an end to the physical and psychological torture of all Cuban political prisoners; and the cruel and cynical prohibition by the dictatorship against Antunez’s sister, Caridad Garcia Perez, being able to rebuild her own house, which was destroyed by one of the devastating recent hurricanes that passed by Cuba.
Accompanying the hero “Antunez” when I was able to contact him by telephone on Friday, March 19th, was his wife, the pro-democracy leader, Iris Perez Aguilera, whose brother Mario Alberto Perez Aguilera is the political prisoner receiving death threats by his jailers mentioned by “Antunez”, and pro-democracy leaders, Carlos Michael Morales Rodriguez, Alejandro Tur Valladares, and Ernesto Mederos. It was my honor to speak with all of them.
“Antunez’s” house was surrounded by state security thugs when we spoke. And he and his colleagues all knew our telephone conversation was being monitored by the thug-regime.
The courage of these pro-democracy leaders is simply awe-inspiring. They all explained their human rights work and reiterated their commitment to freedom.
I told Antunez that I would be speaking in the U.S. Congress this week about him, about his hunger strike, about his heroic struggle for freedom and the heroic struggle of the other pro-democracy leaders I spoke to, and all of Cuba’s political prisoners.
Fidel Castro and his brother, now with some titles because of the dictator’s intestinal illness, constitute the historical revenge of the brutal racist European Colonialism that the Cubans fought throughout the entire 19th Century and ultimately overthrew.
Antunez, Biscet, and the other pro-democracy leaders who continue to fight the Castros’ Dyarchy represent today’s version of Maceo, Banderas, Moncada, and all the freedom fighters who ultimately obtained freedom for Cuba.
One of the disgusting realities of today is that the fight of the unarmed Cuban people doesn’t exist for the international media and the press, with very dignified exceptions.
Why are the Cubans non-persons for so much of the media?
Their racial discrimination is as shameful as it is condemnable.
But Antunez, Biscet and the other Cuban freedom fighters will prevail. They are the future leaders of free Cuba.
Antunez’s last words to me on Friday said it all. “Tell your colleagues, the representatives of the American people: Andunez ni se rinde, ni se va.”
Antunez neither surrenders, nor leaves.
Some are advocating that the new U.S. Administration agree to the expulsion from Cuba to the US of Biscet, Antunez and the other future leaders of Cuba, in exchange for some Castro spies currently in US federal prisons serving time for conspiring to murder U.S. citizens.
That would contribute a condemnable act that would violate international law as well as the elemental human rights of Cuba’s future leaders.
From the floor of the U.S. Congress, I reiterate my admiration for those leaders who confront the totalitarian monster from within Cuba today, and who will lead free Cuba tomorrow.
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