Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Diaz-Balart Reacts to Arrest of Cuban Independent Labor Activist Iván Hernández Carrillo

Aug 1, 2016
Press Release

MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the arrest of Cuban independent labor activist Iván Hernández Carrillo. According to reports from inside the island, Hernández Carrillo was violently arrested when he arrived at the airport in Havana, and remains detained in Cuba.

“It is outrageous that independent labor activist Iván Hernández Carrillo was arrested upon arriving back in Cuba after his trip to the United States and Europe.  While abroad, Ivan brought attention to the Castro regime’s egregious abuses of basic human rights and labor standards in Cuba, and protested the labor violations that will occur as a result of the recently announced Castro-Starwood deal. 

“The Castro dictatorship is punishing Ivan for effectively and eloquently highlighting the regime’s repression to the outside world.  While in the U.S. and Europe, Ivan informed labor activists in free countries about his personal experiences with tyranny in Cuba, and emphasized the lack of free association and other basic labor rights.  But within minutes of returning to his homeland, he was violently and brutally reminded of the consequences of expression in the Castro’s totalitarian regime. For years, Ivan has demonstrated remarkable courage in continuing the struggle for the Cuban people’s freedom despite numerous arrests, threats, beatings, and imprisonment.  His latest trip to highlight labor abuses, and then return to Cuba to continue the struggle, was an exceptional act of bravery.

“As the violent arrest and detention of Ivan demonstrates, along with the ongoing hunger strikes by other activists, repression in Cuba continues to escalate despite numerous concessions from the Obama administration.  By failing to focus on human rights and barreling ahead with his failed policy of appeasement, President Obama has done nothing to help Cuba’s pro-democracy and human rights activists, and has emboldened their oppressors.  President Obama should change course and cease his misguided concessions to the Castro regime until basic human rights are respected.”