Statement by President Obama on Laura Pollan, Family Travel Rights
Below are excerpts of a statement by President Obama today in honor of Laura Pollan, a founder of Cuba's Ladies in White who passed away earlier this year, and in defense of Cuban family travel rights:
"Today, as the National Endowment for Democracy awards the Democracy Service Medal posthumously to Laura Pollán, the founder of Las Damas de Blanco, we honor and celebrate her life by recognizing her significant contributions to the struggle to defend human rights in Cuba. . .
"Though Laura is not with us today, her bravery in the face of repression and her selfless commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba, offer a living legacy that inspires us to keep moving forward. To Las Damas de Blanco who will watch or listen to today’s ceremony, you have our utmost respect for your efforts to stand up for the rights of the Cuban people even in the face of this weekend’s crackdown directed at you and we honor each of you as well .
The United States is steadfast in supporting the simple desire of the Cuban people to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings. I remain committed to supporting civil society in Cuba, including by protecting the ability of Cuban Americans to support their families in Cuba through unrestricted family visits and remittances." (emphasis added)