Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) introduced a resolution to support the Cuban people in their demands for freedom against “the brutal oppression of the Communist dictatorship in Cuba.”
Díaz-Balart — a Cuban-American — asked the international community to stand behind the recent protests against the island’s regime. Initial cosponsors for the House resolution include Steve Scalise (R-LA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Greg Steube (R-FL), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Liz Cheney (R-WY).
According to Díaz-Balart’s statement:
For 62 years, the Cuban people have struggled for freedom and human rights under a brutal, repressive dictatorship. On this day, which also coincides with the anniversary of the Tugboat Massacre, we also remember the regime’s decades of malevolence, including the Brothers to the Rescue Shoot-Down, the firing squads, torture, arbitrary arrests, killings, human trafficking, those who fled in makeshift rafts through shark-infested waters, and the many activists who have suffered or perished for simply daring to speak against the regime. The Cuban people will be free, and they will remember those who stood with them.
Under the resolution — entitled “Expressing solidarity with the Cuban people in their demands for freedom and respect for basic human rights” — the House of Representatives:
- Calls for the release of all political prisoners and for the end of acts of repression, arbitrary imprisonments, torture, and other human rights abuses against the Cuban people;
- Honors the courageous Cuban people for daring to stand up to the Cuban regime and demanding respect for fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression and assembly;
- Recognizes the brave pro-democracy and human rights activists, including independent journalists, artists, labor leaders, and religious leaders, who have been persecuted throughout decades of Communist tyranny;
- Urges other democracies, regional and multilateral organizations to affirm that violence against the unarmed people of Cuba will not be tolerated and that human rights abusers will be held accountable for their crimes;
- Expresses solidarity with the long-suffering Cuban people in their demands for a genuine democratic transition; and
- Calls on the international community to stand with those struggling for freedom in Cuba by condemning repression and expressing unequivocal support for their rights to self-governance, human rights, and basic liberties.
Other Cuban-American lawmakers are calling on the Biden administration to explicitly support the Cuban people in their protests against the regime.
In a Monday letter to President Biden, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote:
The Cuban dictatorship has rejected every effort that would allow the Cuban people to prosper, including your previous efforts as Vice President. Despite the Obama Administration’s efforts to engage with the regime, the dictatorship continues to restrict travel for political opponents, siphon off the salaries of Cubans employed at foreign firms and severely limit the economic freedom of its citizens to own property and start a business. The current protests in Cuba are not just about current economic shortages. They are about the longstanding and deliberate actions taken by the dictatorship to stymy the economic prosperity and political freedom of the Cuban people.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) — a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs — encouraged the ten Cuban-American members of 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.”