WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) today announced that the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the writers, journalist, and librarians of Cuba to mark World Press Freedom Day, which was May 3rd, 2009. The resolution was authored by Senator Martinez and co-sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), George Voinovich (R-OH), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Richard Lugar (R-IN).
"In Cuba, the repressive regime has gone to great lengths to extinguish freedom of press, and of expression, and of independent thought. Many who have had their homes invaded, their families blacklisted and their lives ruined for merely reporting the facts about the reality of Cuba under the Castro Brothers' dictatorship," Senator Martinez said. "I am pleased my fellow senators joined me in calling for an end to this obstruction of fundamental human rights and for the release of those held for exercising their fundamental rights."
"A free press helps create and sustain a free society," said Senator Menendez. "To see how censorship and authoritarian control over the press serves to hold people down, we don't have to look any further than 90 miles from our shore. The regime in Cuba has taken away the Cuban people's basic right to the truth, and that is a main reason why they have lived under an iron fist for 50 years. By supporting the freedom of the press worldwide, we help advance the cause of liberty."
"An independent, objective and professional media is essential to informed free market business decisions," Sen. Voinovich said. "World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity for us to recognize the important role a free press plays towards sustained economic growth and prosperity in emerging economies such as Cuba's. I believe that if you want to be a member of the club, you must play by its rules."
"The U.S. should continue to stand with the Cuban people who still can't exercise the most basic of liberties - freedom of speech and having an uncensored free press," said Martinez' Florida colleague, Sen. Nelson.
The resolution calls for the immediate release of Cuban citizens imprisoned for exercising the rights associated with freedom of the press.