|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement on Anniversary of Cuban Government's Arrest of Dissident Leaders
July 16, 1999, Washington, DC
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Today marks the second anniversary of the Cuban government's arrest of the four leaders of the Dissident Working Group. Those Cuban patriots - Beatriz Roque, Felix Bonne, Rene Gomez Manzano, and Vladimir Roca - were held without trial for over one year in inhumane conditions, and sentenced earlier this year to lengthy prison terms. Their offense was to have carried out peaceful activities to protest the policies and repression of the Cuban government.
The world is taking notice of their sacrifice. The United Nations Human Rights Commission in March condemned the Cuban government's repression of human rights. That resolution received unprecedented support from democratic countries of this hemisphere, and from the international community of democracies. Democratic countries throughout the world are increasingly pressing the Cuban government to grant its people fundamental freedoms, and are adjusting their relationships with Cuba to take into account the reality of repression there.
Our thoughts and prayers are with these courageous defenders of human rights. I take this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to inform the world about their plight and to work for a peaceful transition to democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba.
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