Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a letter to Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs denouncing Cuba’s torture and unjust imprisonment of human rights defender José Daniel Ferrer García. We applaud that statement, and urge supporters of human rights to join Amnesty International in calling on the Cuban government to ensure that Mr. Ferrer García receives a fair trial.
In his letter, Secretary Pompeo highlights the “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.”
Indeed, this pattern of harassment violence, and arbitrary arrests against political opponents is precisely what has caused many Cubans–like Teresa–to flee to the United States for safety.
But despite the State Department’s acknowledgment of political persecution by the Cuban regime (a clear basis for asylum under our laws), the American government has forced nearly 8,000 Cuban people to await their court dates in Mexico, where they face serious physical danger and only a 5% chance of finding an attorney.
The Administration’s hypocrisy is not just limited to Cuba. Last October, for example, the Administration terminated aid to Cameroon because of “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,” while implementing a transit ban and international agreements making it near impossible for survivors of those human rights violations to reach the United States to claim asylum.
We’re grateful for the lawyers that are fighting back the Administration’s inhumanity in court. A federal appeals court has invalidated the transit ban, but it remains in effect awaiting Supreme Court review. Just last week, a federal appeals court found the Remain in Mexico policy invalid, holding that it is causing “extreme and irreversible harm,” but the program remains in place while the government appeals the decision to the Supreme Court. And, the international agreement sending people seeking asylum to Guatemala is under challenge.
We hope the courts bring justice. But the courts aren’t the only way: the Administration and Congress have the power to end the human rights abuses on their own. Let’s rise up and demand it.