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Homeland Security

19 March 2003

Text: U.S. Expresses Outrage Over Cuban Crackdown on Dissidents

(Calls for immediate release of arrested opposition members) (340)
The United States is "outraged" by the Cuban government's arrest of
dozens of opposition leaders on March 18, according to the U.S. State
In a formal statement issued March 19, State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher condemned the arrests as an "appalling act of
intimidation against those who seek freedom and democratic change in
Boucher called on the Cuban government to immediately release the
arrested opposition members and urged the international community to
join the United States in demanding their release.
Following is the text of Boucher's statement:
(begin text)
Office of the Spokesman
March 19, 2003
U.S. Outraged by Cuban Crackdown on Dissidents 
The United States is outraged by the Cuban government's announced
arrest of dozens of opposition members yesterday evening. This is an
appalling act of intimidation against those who seek freedom and
democratic change in Cuba. These people have been arrested for simply
speaking out, one of the most basic internationally recognized human
rights. We call on the Cuban government to release them immediately
and for the international community to join us in demanding their
The announcement of arrests followed a government radio broadcast
attacking the head of our Interests Section and the outreach efforts
of our diplomats in Cuba. The Cuban government suggested that many of
the detainees were arrested for meeting with our diplomats. We also
note that these events coincide with the opening of the U.N.
Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, of which Cuba is a member. The
United States calls on the commission to condemn this action in the
strongest terms. Cuba has again demonstrated that it is not fit to sit
on this commission.
While these arrests are directed against the opposition movement, they
will not quell the Cuban's people's desire for freedom and they only
serve to expose the weakness and desperation of the regime.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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