MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
OCTOBER 18, 2019
The U.S. government strongly condemns the Cuban regime’s unconscionable detainment of human rights defender José Daniel Ferrer, founder of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). We call on the Castro regime to immediately disclose Mr. Ferrer’s location and condition, to treat him humanely, and to release him from detention without condition.
On October 1, Castro regime officials detained Mr. Ferrer and several other human rights defenders in Santiago de Cuba. Mr. Ferrer reportedly has still not been informed of any charges against him, and has been denied access to a lawyer and to medical care. Mr. Ferrer’s family has not been permitted contact with him since October 4. Fellow UNPACU activists Roilan Zarraga Ferrer, José Pupo Chaveco, and Fernando González Vailant also remain in custody.
José Daniel Ferrer’s case is one more example of the Castro regime’s continuous and flagrant violation of human rights, which has recently escalated into a wave of repression against freedoms of speech, expression, and religion. The United States will not allow these abuses against the Cuban people to go unnoticed or unanswered. We will continue to increase sanctions and trade restrictions to diminish the resources available to the Cuban regime, which uses its income to suppress its own citizens and to prop up other regimes with shameful human rights records, including the former Maduro regime in Venezuela.