Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) — a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs — encouraged the Biden administration to support anti-government protests in Cuba.
The lawmaker said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire:
As the daughter of a Cuban refugee and as someone who still has relatives on the Island, this ongoing situation in Cuba is incredibly personal to me. The United States must stand with the Cuban people who are displaying courage by protesting the communist regime that has destroyed their lives for the last 60 years. In the past, protests by Cubans have historically led to jailings, beatings, and murders by the regime.
There is a unique opportunity for the 10 Cuban Americans serving in Congress to work with the Biden Administration to push for democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and rid the island nation of the dual currency and economic systems that have inhumanely suppressed the Cuban people, leading to poverty, starvation, and poor living conditions. I’m encouraged that the people of Cuba are rising up against communism and I hope this is the beginning of real change toward freedom and democracy on the island. President Biden, as leader of the free world, must do all he can to influence this change.
The Biden administration, however, has emphasized the role of COVID-19 outbreaks as a cause of the protests rather than the repression of civil liberties caused by the nation’s communist dictatorship.
“Peaceful protests are growing in #Cuba as the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages,” commented Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, on social media. “We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need.”
Likewise, a Monday morning statement from President Biden — although it did denounce “Cuba’s authoritarian regime” — made no specific mention of communism:
We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.
As protests continue, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel recently asked supporters of the regime to “defend the revolution” against anti-communism, blaming the United States for the grassroots movement.