Secretary Pompeo Demands Release of Cuban Dissident 

On February 24, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo sent an open letter to Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Edwardo Rodriguez Parrilla demanding the immediate release of Jose Daniel Ferrer, a Cuban dissident. [1] 

The Pompeo Letter

“Cuban human rights defender Jose Daniel Ferrer has endured more than 100 days of unjust imprisonment and repeatedly has been dragged, chained, beaten, and burned at the hands of the regime, which you represent.  The United States government joins a chorus of international voices demanding Ferrer’s immediate release.  The European Parliament, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, Amnesty International, and journalists and human rights organizations from countries across the globe have condemned your regime’s treatment of Ferrer and other human rights defenders like him.”

“This is not the first time your regime has targeted Ferrer.  He was imprisoned from 2003 until 2011 for advocating for democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba.”

“The current spurious charges against Ferrer follow a familiar pattern of harassment, violence, and arbitrary arrests against Cubans who seek only to advocate for democracy and the political and economic freedoms that would enable the Cuban people to create prosperity in Cuba.  It cannot be a crime to criticize policies that have set Cuba’s development tumbling backwards for the past 61 years.”

“The United States will never forget the brave Cubans who put their lives on the line for the sake of a free Cuba.  Until there is democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba and all political prisoners are freed, the United States will continue to hold the regime accountable for its abuses.  For the sake of the Cuban people and for the betterment of your nation, we urge you to free Jose Daniel Ferrer immediately.” 

Background for Latest Detention of Ferrer [2]

Ferrer is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU whose latest arrest occurred on October 1, 2019, for which he still is imprisoned.

In November 2019 Cuba alleged that Ferrer had been arrested because he was a salaried U.S. agent to foment dissent on the island; the U.S. vehemently denied these claims. The European Union, Amnesty International and others also have complained about this detention, and members of his family have reported about his poor treatment and condition in the prison.

Other Ferrer Incidents [3]

This detention is not the first time that Ferrer has appeared in the news. For example, in August 2015, after attending  a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at the official Havana residence of the U.S. charge d’affaires, Ferrer said the Secretary’s comments were “good and clear. Many of us are grateful for his remarks, including that the situation in Cuba would improve if we had a genuine democracy.” After Presdient Obama’s speech in Havana in February 2016, Ferrer met with Obama and said it was “the speech we and millions of Cubans yearned to hear. It was light in the dark.” In February 2019 he along with other members of UNPACU were arrested for advocating negative votes in the then upcoming referendum.

===========================

[1] State Dep’t, An Open Letter to the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba (Feb. 24, 2020).

[2] See these posts to dwkcommentaries.com: U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Cuba and Denounces Cuba’s Detention of a Dissident (Oct. 19, 2019); Comment: Cuban Court Denies Habeas Corpus for Ferrer (Oct. 21, 2019); Comment: Ferrer’s Family Released from Detention (Oct. 26, 2019); Cuba Accuses U.S. of Using Ferrer Case To Try To Discredit Cuba (Nov. 21, 2019); U.S. Responds to Cuba’s Allegations about U.S. and José Daniel Ferrer (Nov. 22, 2019); Cuba Tells European Union That Ferrer Is Not a Political Detainee (Nov. 26, 2019) Comment: Update on Ferrer Status (Nov. 28, 2019); Comment: Current Status of José Daniel Ferrer (Feb. 1, 2020).

[3] See these posts to dwkcommentaries.com: Kerry’s Meeting with Cuban Dissidents Gets Rave Reviews (Aug. 24, 2015); Reactions to President Obama’s Speech in Cuba (Mar. 26, 2016); Cuba Arrests Opponents of New Constitution (Feb. 14, 2019).

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dwkcommentaries

As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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