VOC Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Wasserman Schultz Calls for Release of Cuban Political Prisoners

On March 28th, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25) wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to express appreciation for efforts to support Cubans fighting for democracy, and to request help in freeing political prisoners wrongfully detained. Rep Wasserman Schultz is the co-chair of the newly reestablished VOC Caucus.

As Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s letter reads:

Dear Secretary Blinken,

I write to thank you for your efforts to protect democracy around the world and secure the release of wrongfully detained Americans and foreign nationals by authoritarian regimes, and to request your urgent attention to the cases of Cuban political prisoners Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo Pérez and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, both of whom I sponsor as part of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s Defending Freedoms Project.

I was deeply grateful for President Biden’s leadership and deliberate action following the momentous July 11, 2021, pro-democracy protest movement in Cuba. Tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets in solidarity to demand justice, opportunity, and freedom from the brutal communist dictatorship that exists on the island. These courageous freedom fighters were emboldened by the United States’ historic support for their plight and for their hope of a democratic future for all Cubans.

I was especially proud to have the President’s support for H.Res.760, which expressed solidarity with Cuban citizens demonstrating peacefully for fundamental freedoms and condemned the regime’s acts of repression. Overwhelming bipartisan approval of this measure sent a powerful message to the world’s despots: the United States will not stand silent in the face of injustice.

Sadly, the Cuban regime responded to the bravery and patriotism of July 11th by doubling down on totalitarian oppression with an unprecedented crackdown on dissent. This included illegally imprisoning over 1,800 Cubans, the majority of whom are young and Black. The United Nations has expressed concern about inhumane conditions in Cuban prisons, including overcrowding, lack of ventilation, poor medical care, malnutrition, and lack of clean water.

Read the full letter here.