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Condemning the Death of Juan Wilfredo Soto

May 12, 2011
Floor Statement

Mister Speaker,

I rise today to condemn the brutal beating and subsequent death of Juan Wilfredo Soto.   Last Thursday, Soto, while participating in a peaceful protest against the Castro regime, Cuban authorities beat him so badly, he was taken to the hospital where he later died on Sunday.

Soto was a brave man and respected advocate, who helped support the hunger strike of human rights award winner, Guillermo Farinas.  Juan Wilfredo Soto’s death is the latest brazen illustration of the violent methods the Castro brothers utilize to oppress freedom in Cuba.  In the last two months, reports of oppression have increased.

As many praised the false promises of the 6th Communist Party Congress held in Cuba last month, few acknowledged the crackdown on dissidents and journalists that took place.   Leading up to the Congress, Cuban authorities reportedly arrested and detained opposition members to ensure that all voices critical of the regime would be silent and that no protests would be visible.

The United States and the international community must join together in condemning the wrongful death of Juan Wilfredo Soto and supporting human rights on the island. We must show the leaders in Cuba that their wicked deeds do not go unnoticed. 

I yield back.