The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 21, 2008

Fact Sheet: Promoting Democracy in Cuba
On Day Of Solidarity With The Cuban People, President Bush Recognizes And Calls For The Release Of Political Prisoners Of The Regime

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Cuba, Marks Day of Solidarity

Today, President Bush honored the Cuban people with the inaugural Day of Solidarity with the people of Cuba. He also issued a Presidential Proclamation to commemorate those who are suffering in Cuba for their beliefs, especially Cuba's prisoners of conscience. The President reiterated that the United States stands with the brave Cubans who are struggling make their nation democratic, prosperous, and just. President Bush also called for the release of all political prisoners being held in Cuba.

Today, President Bush called on the Cuban regime to make meaningful changes to improve the life for the Cuban people. Cuban rulers should allow their citizens to speak freely in public, watch movies and documentaries produced by Cuban artists who are free to express themselves, and open up access to the Internet.

The United States Is Reaching Out To The Cuban People

Since 2001, the United States has dramatically stepped up our efforts to promote freedom and democracy in Cuba. Since 2001, the United States has provided $366 million in such assistance. The United States has substantially increased efforts to get uncensored information to the Cuban people, primarily through Radio and TV Martí, which now broadcast from aircraft and via satellite television as well as on a variety of AM and shortwave frequencies. Today, Cuba remains stuck beneath the personal tyranny of Fidel and Raul Castro, and Cubans' political freedoms have been denied. Families have been torn apart, the economy is in shambles, and Cuban society is crumbling after years of the Castros' neglect.

Real Change In Cuba Requires Political Freedom

Despite the Cuban government's signature in February 2008 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the regime has not attempted even cosmetic changes on civil and political rights. Political dissidents continue to be harassed, detained, and beaten, and more than 200 prisoners of conscience still suffer in Castro's tropical gulag.

Today, Events Around The World Will Shine A Spotlight On Political Prisoners In Cuba

The Day of Solidarity occurs during a period when Cubans all over the island commemorate Cuban patriots who have suffered at the hands of the regime for the cause of freedom and human rights. It coincides with a period in Cuban history that marks Cuban Independence Day (May 20), the death of José Martí (May 19, 1895), and the death of Pedro Luis Boitel (May 25, 1972).

While the Cuban regime isolates itself, the Cuban people continue to act with dignity, honor, and courage. Today, President Bush recognized the courage of several political prisoners still serving in Cuba:

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