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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > March
Press Statement
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 17, 2005


Cuba: Two-Year Anniversary of the Crackdown

Two years ago, the Castro regime unleashed a sweeping crackdown on independent civil society activists, condemning 75 to prison sentences averaging 20 years. The regime has so far only released 14 prisoners, all of whom were in poor health and continue to be subject to daily harassment, re-arrest, and lengthy interrogations by the secret police. The regime continues to hold at least 300 other political prisoners and persecutes anyone who dares speak out against it. For almost half a century, the Cuban government has steadfastly refused to allow any kind of political opening or accord Cubans those most basic human rights recognized by the Universal Declaration.

The United States and others in the international community will not remain silent before such repression. We will not allow these champions of human rights to be forgotten nor let their courageous action in the pursuit of freedom be in vain.

The United States seeks a rapid and peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba, and supports all Cubans who seek this outcome. Only a Cuba that respects fundamental freedoms and independent civil society can make this transition. Two years after this terrible act of repression, we again call upon the Castro regime to free all political prisoners. The Cuba people deserve a government committed to democracy and the full observance of human rights.

2005/332

Released on March 17, 2005

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