The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement from NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor on the Detention of Members of the Damas de Blanco

The detention of members of the Damas de Blanco this weekend in Havana in the lead up to Pope Benedict's visit underscores the disdain of Cuban authorities for the universal rights of the Cuban people.  The quiet dignity of the Damas stands in stark contrast with the acts of those who are standing in the way of the basic aspirations of the Cuban people.  We call for the immediate release of all who were detained and for Cuban authorities to abandon their tactics of intimidation and harassment to stifle peaceful dissent.

President Obama and the American people remain steadfast in standing with the Damas and other courageous voices in Cuban civil society who demonstrate the Cuban people's desire to freely determine their country's future.

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