Chairman Sires Condemns Continued Crackdown on Artists in Cuba
(Washington, D.C.) – In response to reports of yet another artist being arrested on baseless charges in Cuba, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy issued the following statement:
“The arrest of Hamlet Lavastida is just the latest example of how the Castro/Díaz-Canel dictatorship criminalizes free expression. Fearful of the growing influence of independent artists in Cuba, the Cuban regime is intensifying its crackdown to target not just political activists but anyone who dares to exercise their fundamental human rights. It is plain for the world to see that this regime is showing no signs of progress or reform, as it uses the thinnest and most arbitrary of pretexts as an excuse to throw more artists in jail.
“Unfortunately, the regime’s human rights abuses serve only to deepen and distract from Cuba’s current crisis. Cuba is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, exacerbating an already-severe economic situation that is hitting the Cuban people extremely hard. Instead of taking serious steps to respond, the regime is looking for scapegoats and doubling down on its tired playbook of repression.
“I am appalled by recent reports that political prisoner Pablo Moya Delá was beaten by other prisoners, while Cuban officials looked on and did nothing to prevent it. The regime routinely violates the human rights of prisoners in Cuba, forcing them to work 12-hour days and meet production quotas, while enduring beatings, torture, and solitary confinement, and its treatment of political prisoners is particularly atrocious. I join international human rights organizations in denouncing this despicable behavior and I call on the Díaz-Canel dictatorship to immediately release Hamlet Lavastida, Pablo Moya Delá, and all political prisoners in Cuba.