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Rubio, Menendez speak to Cuban dissident after his release from jail


Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., spoke Wednesday about their conversation with Cuban dissident Jorge Luis García Perez, known as Antúnez, after he was released from jail. Antúnez and dissident José Daniel Ferrer testified by video conference last week before a Senate subcommittee. Both were later harassed by Cuban authorities.

Both harshly criticized the Cuban government last week when they testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Antúnez was arrested Saturday, beaten and pepper sprayed in a police lockup in his hometown of Placetas in Villa Clara, according to his wife, Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sent a letter to the Cuban Interests Section demanding information about Antúnez's whereabouts. And Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the Obama administration's approach to Cuba.

"The arrest and beating of Jose Luis Garcia Perez 'Antunez' over the weekend, the recent arbitrary arrests of hundreds of dissidents, and the continued imprisonment of American citizen Alan Gross should be a wake-up call for this Administration," she said. "How much more suffering and abuse must the Cuban people suffer at the hands of the Castro brothers before President Obama takes action?"