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Friday, November 11, 2005 By: Juan Paxety
Speech by Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart
From Net For Cuba
SPEECH OF HON. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART
OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2005
Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida. Mr Speaker, I rise today to speak about Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez, a political prisoner in totalitarian Cuba.
Mr. Reyes Rodríguez is an opposition activist and independent librarian in totalitarian Cuba. His life is dedicated to the proposition that the men and women of Cuba must be free: free to learn, free to worship, free to elect their leaders, free to enjoy their inalienable human rights. Independent librarians in Cuba, such as the one operated by Mr. Reyes Rodríguez, provide the indispensable service of circulating truth at a time when the tyrannical regime provides only propaganda. These heroic librarians often circulate the great works of anti-totalitarian literature, including the important writings of Václav Havel and Dr. Martin Luther King. Literature is a great danger to totalitarian regimes: books often provide the truth that tyrants seek to hide.
Unfortunately, In March 2003, as part of Castro's condemnable crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists, Mr. Reyes Rodríguez was arrested. In a sham trial, he was sentenced to 25 years in the totalitarian gulag.
Amnesty International reports that he is suffering from serious medical concerns in the gulag. According to the U.S. Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003:
In early August, officers of the Ministry of the Interior threatened to arrest the wife of prisoner Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez if she continued to receive activists who visited her to express sympathy for the jailing of her husband. Police told Isel de las Mercedes Acosta Obregon that they would try her for violating the Law to Protect National Independence and the Economy (Law 88) (see Section 2.a.) if she did not cease ``counterrevolutionary activities.''
Mr. Reyes Rodríguez has also been named an honorary member of Sydney PEN, an organization of writers devoted to emphasizing the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fighting for freedom of expression; and to acting as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views.
Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear, Mr. Reyes Rodríguez is languishing in an infernal gulag because he believes in freedom, truth, democracy, and human rights. His family is being constantly threatened because of these ``dangerous'' beliefs. My colleagues, we must demand the immediate and unconditional release of Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez and every political prisoner in totalitarian Cuba.
Received from Jordan Paul, Legislative Director
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart