FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 18, 2017
VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM FOUNDATION
CONVENES CAPTIVE NATION DISSIDENTS TO ADVOCATE FOR FREEDOM
Dissidents from the newest captive nations gather in Washington, D.C. to call for U.S. resolve against dictators and oppressive regimes
Washington, D.C. – To mark Captive Nations Week, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) has gathered leading dissidents from Venezuela, Cuba, and the occupied territory of Ukraine, including Crimea, to petition the U.S. government to pressure the regimes of the newest Captive Nations to allow for democracy and freedom and to draw attention to the millions throughout the world currently suffering under totalitarian governments.
This morning, VOC held a press conference call with John Suarez, Enrique Altimari, and Naphtali Rivkin—leading pro-democracy activists currently gathered in Washington—who commented respectively on the struggle for freedom in Cuba, Venezuela, and Eastern Ukraine.
John Suarez, Director of Research at the Center For a Free Cuba in Washington, D.C, who commented on the situation in Cuba. Mr. Suarez explained that the policies of the Obama Administration marginalized Cuba dissidents, resulting in more detentions in Cuba than previous years and leading to the sharing of U.S. intelligence information with the Cuban intelligence community. Consequently, he said, “because of the information sharing, some Cuban equipment was sent to North Korea and possibly is being used in their ballistic missiles today. The United States needs to stand firm against and be committed to the end of the Castro regime.”
Enrique Altimari the official international representative of Primero Justicia, a Venezuelan political party commented on the “Cubanization” of Venezuela. He said, “The Venezuelan government has taken on the tactics of its Cuban sponsors — silencing media, taking power away from political opposition, and using violence to prop up its collapsing power.” He added, “The United States and other countries in the region need to step in and help and put pressure on the current Venezuelan government.”
Naphtali Rivkin, Research Fellow with VOC and a graduate student in International Relations at the University of Cambridge, commented on the situation for the people of Eastern Ukraine including Crimea. He said that the people in Ukraine, particularly those in Crimea, desire independence and freedom, and do not want to be governed by Russia. He said, “Crimeans have European and American values, despite being occupied.” He added, “The U.S. needs to be more proactive and bold in its actions to help Eastern Ukraine.”
VOC will host an event tomorrow afternoon honoring the memory of slain Cuban pro-democracy leader Oswaldo Payá and tearing down the romanticized image of Che Guevara, the Marxist militant whose actions led to the death of thousands. Senator Ted Cruz, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the dissidents above will highlight the totalitarian legacy Guevara and others left in Cuba and throughout Latin America.
WHAT: ¡No Che! Noche
WHEN: Wednesday, July 19, 2017
WHERE: U.S. Capitol, East Steps, near First & East Capitol Streets, NW
TIME: 6:30pm – 7:30pm EST
For more information or to schedule an interview with VOC Executive Director Marion Smith, John Suarez, or Enrique Altimari please contact Ayla at [email protected] or 2020.629.9500.