Omar Pernet Hernandez, a journalist arrested in Cuba in 2003, was among the political dissidents lunching Tuesday with President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush in New York.
Hernandez was among 75 dissidents arrested in the "Black Spring" crackdown of 2003. He was released in February 2008 and now lives in Spain. The White House says he continued to call for human rights and freedom while in prison and still suffers from serious medical problems due to mistreatment in prison.
"They inspire us," Bush said of the dissidents. "Here in America, we have an obligation to help others realize the blessings of liberty. They have been on the front lines of securing liberty."