Cuban dissident freed after being beaten, jailed for talking to Congress, Rubio says

Published June 13, 2012

| FoxNews.com

The dissident jailed and beaten in Cuba after testifying at a Senate hearing via video conference has been released, Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday.

Rubio said Cuban dissident Jorge Garcia Luis Perez is home but in rough shape, after being picked up Saturday by police officers with the communist Castro regime.

“He is obviously not doing well. He he's had a tough 48 hours or 72 hours,” said Rubio, a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

Perez, known as "Antunez", testified June 7 at a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on political and social freedom inside Cuba.

His arrest and beating prompted Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., on Tuesday to urged the Obama administration to stop loosening restrictions on Cuba.

Menendez wants the administration to stop issuing non-essential visas for Cuba officials and cut off tourist travel and agricultural trade.

Rubio said Monday the incident was clearly the work of Cuban President Raul Castro and his brother, Fidel. However, he stopped short of asking the administration to stop issuing visas, instead calling for a re-examination of the program.

He and other lawmakers also called for a human rights investigation into the Perez incident.

Among them are Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Florida GOP Reps. David Rivera and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Rubio and Menendez expressed outrage last month when Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela, was granted a temporary visa to attend an academic conference in San Francisco, then a talk in New York City.

Rubio, the American-born son of Cuban parents, said Wednesday there are new reports of other dissidents and other people who testified last week facing similar repression.

“I think we need to keep a very close eye on this because I think what this does is illustrate exactly what we're dealing with in Cuba,” he said. “We're dealing with criminals and thugs. That's what the Castro government is."

 

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