Roque's family has said she is in critical condition and was transferred last week to a military hospital last week due to high blood pressure, chest pain and nose bleeds. "Her health has worsened since her incarceration," Boucher said. "The Cuban government should provide her with the best possible medical treatment." He said Roque and the other 74 prisoners were being held in inhumane conditions, with little sanitation, contaminated water and nearly inedible food.
"The Cuban government appears to be going out of its way to treat these prisoners inhumanely," Boucher said. "It should immediately cease this practice and, at the minimum, allow the appropriate humanitarian organizations to monitor the treatment of its political prisoners, whose only real crime was to call for peaceful democratic change in Cuba," he said. "Ms Roque and all of the other political prisoners should be released immediately," Boucher added.
Roque, an economist who heads the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, an umbrella organization of dissident groups, is serving a 20-year sentence.
Noriega's confirmation came after a long delay because Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., had been blocking the vote for months in an effort to force a Senate vote on his proposal for easing restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba. ''We had all been waiting for so long that we stopped watching,'' said Ana Navarro, a longtime Miami lobbyist and friend of Noriega, the current U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.
Until Tuesday, the Senate had refused to confirm a series of nominees for the State Department job, in charge of relations with Washington's hemispheric neighbors, since 1999 because of a string of political disputes. The post had been held since then on an interim or appointed basis by four officials.The unanimous approval on a voice vote, as Congress headed toward its summer recess this week, drew praise from Latin American officials as well as U.S. supporters. ***