WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 100 days after pro-democracy demonstrations began in Cuba, Senator Rick Scott presented the 2021 John S. McCain Freedom Award to the People of Cuba at the International Republican Institute (IRI) 2021 Freedom Award Celebration. Willy Chirino, Cuban Grammy Award-winning artist, accepted the award on behalf of the Cuban people. Since 1995, the International Republican Institute’s Freedom Award Celebration has honored individuals whose commitment to the advancement of democracy, freedom and human liberty has created opportunity for millions of people around the world. As IRI’s highest honor, the Freedom Award exemplifies the goals and accomplishments of strengthening democracy for a safer, more secure world.
Last week, Senator Scott announced the introduction of the DEMOCRACIA Act to hold the illegitimate communist Cuban regime accountable through severe sanctions and unprecedented financial pressure. Earlier this year Senator Scott introduced a resolution honoring the efforts of Cuban democracy and human rights activist José Daniel Ferrer and the vital contribution and humanitarian efforts of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). Since the demonstrations in Cuba began, Senator Scott has called on the Biden administration to provide the full support of the federal government to those fighting for freedom in Cuba, help restore internet and cellular networks and rally the international community behind the Cuban people in this critically important moment.
Senator Rick Scott said, “This year, we have seen the Cuban people organize and rise up fearlessly against the oppressive, illegitimate communist Cuban regime. 100 days ago, in a show of unity and strength, demonstrators began marching in the streets and voicing their opposition against communist rule. Castro and Díaz-Canel are terrified of their people’s resolve, and are doing everything they can to silence them. Even as oppression and censorship increases, the Cuban people continue to bravely fight for freedom. Their devotion to democracy is an inspiration for all of us, and I am honored to present the 2021 John S. McCain Freedom Award to the Cuban people in recognition of their bravery, resilience and strength. We won’t stop fighting until there is a new day of freedom on the island.”