Menendez Statement on Cuban National Assembly's Selection of Raul Castro As President

Menendez Statement on Cuban National Assembly's Selection of Raul Castro As President

Washington - Today, the Cuban National Assembly picked Raul Castro to be president of that country's Council of the State and filled other leadership positions on the Council with members sympathetic to his authoritarian rule. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who is of Cuban descent and has been a leading critic of the regime in Cuba, released the following statement:

"The predictable decision to continue with the oppression that Fidel Castro began a half-century ago shows that the first name of the dictator may have changed, but the iron-fisted rule has not. It certainly seems that the regime in Havana will not take this as an opportunity to bring true freedom and democracy to the Cuban people. The question now is whether or not the Cuban people will take this moment to push for the basic human right of liberty. We in the United States must further nurture the human rights activists, political dissidents and independent-minded journalists who have the capability to stoke the movement toward freedom. Just as we did during the fall of the Iron Curtain with dissidents from Lech Walesa to Vaclav Havel to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, we can do it again now with opposition leaders like Martha Beatriz Roque and Oscar Elías Biscet in Cuba."

Senator Menendez was born in the United States to parents who immigrated from Cuba.

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