Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding hunger strikes recently undertaken by approximately thirty Cuban democracy leaders, including Jorge Luís García Pérez Antúnez and Martha Beatriz Roque, to demand the release of political prisoners, including Jorge Vazquez Chaviano:
“Antúnez and Martha Beatriz Roque are two of Cuba’s most courageous heroes in the resistance movement, and I am deeply concerned about their deteriorating health as they join scores of other Cubans in conducting hunger strikes to protest the unjust incarceration of Jorge Vazquez Chaviano.
“The Castro regime relishes in the suffering of the Cuban people, especially pro-democracy leaders who threaten their grip on power. They would love nothing more than to see these hunger strikes end in death. The international community, with the United States at the forefront, must speak out and draw attention to the suffering of the Cuban people.
“The Obama administration should highlight these latest instances of Cuban suffering at the hands of the regime and also come to grips with the lack of progress achieved by its pro-engagement policy. It could not have envisioned ending its first term with an American humanitarian in frail health in a Cuban dungeon and a more repressive Cuban regime driving the Cuban people to desperate acts like these hunger strikes.”