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Cuban Dissidents To Face Trial

Three more Cuban dissidents face trial on trumped-up charges of working to undermine the Communist government of Fidel Castro. Dissident attorney Rene Gomez Manzano, independent journalist Oscar Mario Gonzalez and political activist Julio Cesar Lopez face prosecution under the same law that was used in 2003 to convict seventy-five Cubans whose only crime was to call for Cuban democracy and freedom.

The Law for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence, enacted in 1999, establishes prison terms for any individual who is in contact with what is called "foreign media", or who possesses, reproduces, or distributes what is called "subversive" material. The law is used by the Castro government to suppress dissent of any kind.

The three men are among nine dissidents who are still being held following the July 22nd detentions of at least thirty-three people who were planning to attend an opposition protest outside the French Embassy. That protest was organized to call for the release of Cuban political prisoners. Also still in custody on public disorder charges are six dissidents picked up in an unrelated street protest July 13th.

Those who speak out in favor of basic rights in Cuba continue to face prison and abuse. Caleb McCarry coordinates U.S. policy efforts aimed at ensuring a transition to democracy in Communist ruled in Cuba. He says that the United States stands with those in Cuba who are standing up to the dictatorship of Fidel Castro:

"For forty-six years, the dictatorship has willfully and cruelly divided the Cuban family. It will be Cubans, brave souls on the island itself and from around the world who will determine the future of a free Cuba. It is the responsibility of the civilized world to act to see that the Cuban family is reunited under political and economic freedom."

The day is coming when Cubans will again be free. But the United States is "not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom," says President George W. Bush. "The U.S.," he said, is "working for the day of Cuban freedom."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.