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Cuban Dissident Relatives Participate in 'Day of Solidarity' on VOA

First 'Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People' is held at the White House

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2008 – Relatives of Cuban political prisoners told the Voice of America (VOA) they strongly support the idea of providing mobile telephones to dissidents on the island.

Their remarks came after a Cuban Solidarity Day at the White House, addressed by President George W. Bush. The President announced changes in U.S. regulations that will allow Americans to send mobile phones to Cuba. He also renewed calls for the release of political prisoners being held in by the Cuban government.

"The President took his time for all political prisoners and said that they have to be released, adding that Cuba someday will be free," said Winnie Biscet, daughter of political prisoner Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a human rights activist serving a 25-year sentence.

The Cuban government recently announced it would allow citizens to own mobile phones; however, the prices have been set so high that many Cubans will not be able to afford them. President Bush said the U.S. would now allow more American mobile phones to be shipped to Cuba; previously, such exports were strictly regulated.

Miguel Sigler Amaya, whose two brothers are currently held in Cuba as political prisoners, lauded President Bush’s announcement, saying, "It is very important now for the opposition on the island for cell phones to reach the island."

Excerpts from the Solidarity Day ceremony and interviews aired today on the VOA Noticias television program and on VOA radio, and will be posted on VOA’s Spanish-language website:

VOA Noticias is a 22-minute live newscast from Washington Monday through Friday, covering news developments in Latin America and the world, along with reports from Washington, D.C. and the United States. On weekends, it provides a news summary of the top stories and highlights of the week. VOA Noticias airs at 2100 UTC (5:00 p.m. EDT), and repeats at 2130 UTC (5:30 p.m. EDT).

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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