U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement by Secretary Pompeo
August 21, 2019
The U.S. government strongly condemns the prosecution of Roberto Quinones. We call upon the Cuban regime to immediately release Mr. Quinones and to cease their abuse and mistreatment. On April 22, Cuban police arrested journalist Roberto Quinones. His “crime” was reporting a story regarding a pastor and his wife who were imprisoned for home-schooling their child.
On August 7, the Cuban regime convicted Quinones on dubious charges of resistance and disobedience and sentenced him to one year in a labor camp. His detention and trial were marked by the flagrant disregard for legal norms that are typical of the Cuban regime. Cuban authorities did not inform Quinones of the charges against him until minutes before the trial, and did not permit him legal representation in the courtroom. The regime’s prosecutors did not permit Quinones to present evidence of his injuries at the hands of the police who arrested him. Adding cruelty to injustice, regime officials have refused to allow Quinones to visit his ailing father.
Sadly, this is just one more example of the Cuban regime’s ongoing violation of human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and to fair trial guarantees. We will continue to use targeted sanctions and trade restrictions to cut off resources from the Cuban regime, which uses its income to repress its own people, and to prop up the Maduro regime in Venezuela.