Menendez Calls For Termination of Visas for Cuban Officials; Immediate Investigation Of Arrest And Beating By Castro Regime Of Witness At Foreign Relations Subcommittee Hearing
Arrest, Beating of Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Was Following His Courageous Testimony
Washington – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics Affairs, today reacted to the reported arrest and beating of Cuban dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (“Antunez”) by the Castro regime on June 9 — 48 hours after he testified via video teleconference in front of the Senate Subcommittee. He was one of three Cuban dissidents who testified at the June 7 hearing titled, “The Path to Freedom: Countering Repression and Supporting Civil Society in Cuba.”
“I am outraged, but not surprised by the Castro regime’s attack and imprisonment of Jorge Luis Garica Perez (“Antunez”), who overcame significant obstacles to provide testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. Our thoughts and prayers are with Antunez, his wife Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, and his family who have suffered time and again at the hands of the Castro regime for their pursuit of libertad for the Cuban people.
The arrest and beating of Antunez – clearly as a direct result of his Senate testimony – is further proof of the continuing brutality of the Castro Brothers’ regime and further evidence of the need for the United States and other democratic nations to stand up against tyrants and realize that the nature of the regime won’t be altered by increasing tourist travel to the island, expanding agricultural trade, or by providing visas for regime officials to tour the United States.
I am calling on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the UN Committee Against Torture to fully investigate this incident, as well as the more than 2,400 other political arrests that have occurred this year in Cuba, and on the State Department to cease providing any non-essential visas for travel to the United States by Cuban officials.
As long as I have a voice, I will speak out against the regime, against any effort to legitimize it or reward it – and I will speak out for the thousands of men and women like Antunez – until Cuba is free.”
Here’s a video clip of Jorge Luis Garcia Perez’s (“Antunez”) testimony: