07/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/16/2021 12:16
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) today introduced a bicameral, bipartisan resolution condemning the Cuban communist regime's violent response to the Cuban citizens who have taken to the streets to peacefully call for human rights and the end of the dictatorship in Cuba. This resolution comes as independent Cuban civil society groups report hundreds of peaceful protesters have been arrested, detained, or are missing, while the regime has continued to rely on widespread internet shutdowns and illegal searches of the homes of activists in an effort to quash the burgeoning pro-democracy movement.
U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.) Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Al Lawson (D-Fla.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Upon introducing this resolution, Sen. Cruz said:
'The fight for a free Cuba is not theoretical to me-my father and Tia Sonia fought for freedom and endured the brutality of this oppressive dictatorship just as the protesters on the streets today. America must speak with strength and clarity to the people of Cuba and ensure the world that we stand boldly on the side of freedom. To the people of Cuba, you have a right to be free, and your courage is inspiring. I have long said their communist dictatorship will fall to the ash heap of history as all despots do, and I believe that through the heroism of Cuban dissidents we will someday see a free Cuba.'
Sen. Menendez said:
'What we are seeing in Cuba is unprecedented. There has never been a social justice and pro-democracy movement of this size across so many cities and towns in the island, and it speaks to the Cuban people's determination to liberate themselves from the iron fist of this regime. As the tyrants in Havana wither, their reliance on violence and internet blackouts is emblematic of the ends to which they will go to intimidate and obstruct the growing chorus of voices calling for political reforms in Cuba. Today, the United States Congress is united in its unflinching support for Cubans' fundamental human and social rights. We are speaking with one voice in honor and admiration of the work being carried on by the brave freedom fighters in Cuba, and we are making a solemn promise not to ignore the suffering and subjugation of the Cuban people as they inch closer to realizing a future of prosperity and freedom.'
Sen. Rubio said:
'The U.S. Senate must send a strong bipartisan message that we stand united against the communist regime in Cuba, which is violently repressing peaceful protests and censoring the voices of the Cuban people. The Biden Administration must act now to provide unrestricted access to the internet for the Cuban people, and begin rallying the international community on their behalf. The people of Cuba are no longer afraid and the world must answer the call.'
Sen. Durbin said:
'We are seeing decades of deep Cuban frustration over inept, corrupt, and cruel governance boiling over. While I have long argued for a change in the failed U.S. policy toward Cuba, the Cuban people know the real source of their island's lost potential rests squarely with the ruling dictatorship. On this 9th anniversary of Cuban democracy activist Oswaldo Payá's suspicious death, I stand with the Cuban people in their peaceful demand for a brighter future.'
Sen. Risch said;
'I am inspired by the thousands of Cubans risking their lives to demand the end of communist tyranny and a democratic future in their country. I'm proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution, which reaffirms our nation's historical commitment to support the efforts of the Cuban people to regain their rights and freedoms.'
Sen. Kaine said:
'I'm proud to introduce this resolution to express solidarity with the Cuban people who are speaking out against decades of oppression. With this resolution, we are sending a strong bipartisan message that we stand with the Cuban people exercising their right to demand freedom and reform. They should be able to voice their opinions peacefully. As Chairman of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee, I will continue working to promote human rights and freedom in the region.'
Rep. Sires said:
'The Cuban people are tired. They've had enough of a failed system that only delivers repression and suffering; they are clamoring for freedom and democracy. I'm inspired by the examples of courage we are witnessing throughout Cuba, especially among young people, and I'm proud to stand with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis against this brutal dictatorship and in solidarity with the Cuban people.'
Rep. Wasserman Schultz said:
'Risking everything, thousands of Cubans are bravely confronting their brutal, authoritarian government. They desperately need the world's support to lift up their demands for freedom. One of the most powerful messages America can send right now is offering to put our partisan differences aside, and stand firmly, together, behind this historic call for true self-determination. The Cuban people are courageous and strong, but their plea for free speech, assembly, internet access, and a chance to choose their own leaders - cannot be met with silence. I am proud to stand by them and the entire Cuban diaspora in this critical moment by introducing this bipartisan resolution, which says loudly and clearly: the American people stand in solidarity with the protestors in Havana and beyond, who are standing up to this oppressive and tyrannical Cuban dictatorship.'
Rep. Diaz-Balart added:
'I greatly appreciate my dear friends from the House and Senate, from both sides of the aisle, who came together with a unified voice to express solidarity with the Cuban people, and to condemn the regime's brutality against courageous pro-democracy protesters. The Cuban people are risking everything to demand respect for their God-given liberties. We stand with them, and they will prevail.'
Read the full text of their resolution here.