WASHINGTON, USA (AFP) — The United States yesterday condemned the arrest of dissidents in Cuba at the funeral of political activist Oswaldo Paya, calling it "a stark demonstration of the climate of repression in Cuba."
"We call on the Cuban government to respect internationally recognised fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, rather than arresting their citizens for peacefully exercising these universal rights that are protected and promoted by governments throughout the world," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
Cuban authorities arrested about 50 activists as they emerged from Paya's funeral shouting anti-government slogans on Tuesday. Cuban activists said most were later released hours later without charges.
"The fact that this occurred while hundreds of people gathered peacefully to commemorate the life of one of Cuba's foremost human rights advocates only underscores the importance of Paya's struggle on behalf of the Cuban people," the White House said.
"Unfortunately, these arrests provide a stark demonstration of the climate of repression in Cuba."