Sen. Rick Scott, Rep. Byron Donalds Reintroduce DEMOCRACIA Act Sanctioning Communist Cuban Regime for Human Rights Abuses

February 16, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott announced the reintroduction of the bicameral Denying Earnings to the Military Oligarchy in Cuba and Restricting Activities of the Cuban Intelligence Apparatus (DEMOCRACIA) Act to hold the illegitimate communist Cuban regime accountable through severe sanctions and unprecedented financial pressure. Representatives Byron Donalds, Alex Mooney, Mario Díaz-Balart and María Elvira Salazar introduced the companion bill in the House of Representatives.


Senators Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, Tommy Tuberville and Roger Marshall joined Senator Rick Scott in reintroducing the bill.


Senator Rick Scott said, “For decades, Cuba has been the root of instability in Latin America and a constant threat to the national security of the United States. The illegitimate, communist Castro/Diaz-Canel regime harbors terrorist groups, has eliminated free and fair elections, threatens and arbitrarily arrests critics, journalists and political activists, and props up other ruthless dictators, like Maduro in Venezuela and Ortega in Nicaragua while providing a foothold in Latin American for Russia, Iran and Communist China to spread their influence. As the Cuban people’s fight for freedom from the oppressive and illegitimate communist Cuban regime continues, the United States must stand with the Cuban people. This year alone, a significant influx of migrants from Cuba have illegally entered Florida. We know that a free and prosperous Cuba would liberate the Cuban people and eliminate the source of socialist cancer in our Hemisphere. The DEMOCRACIA Act implements severe sanctions against Communist Cuba and closes existing sanctions gaps. The bill makes clear that the United States will not sit on the sidelines during this critical fight. It’s time for President Biden to stop his failed appeasement and punish the communist regime for its crimes. I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to immediately take up and pass the DEMOCRACIA Act and send a clear message to President Biden that the time for strength in the fight for freedom in Cuba is now.”


Senator Marco Rubio said, “Expanding from existing legislation, the DEMOCRACIA Act seeks to impose a cost on individuals who continue to oppress the people of Cuba. From their puppet leader, Díaz-Canel, to their GAESA cronies, the Cuban dictatorship has continued to illegally enrich itself while everyday Cubans remain targets of oppression, censorship, and human rights violations. As a State Sponsor of Terrorism, the Castro/Díaz-Canel dictatorship continues to threaten our regional stability through their active support of anti-democratic regimes in our hemisphere.”


Senator Tim Scott said, “Cuba’s illegitimate communist regime trains our enemies, empowers our adversaries to destabilize democracies, and exports the brutality of communism throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond. The Biden administration has failed to hold the Cuban regime accountable for its crimes against humanity and abandoned the Cuban freedom-fighters. It’s time for the United States to take concrete, targeted action against the worst abusers of the Diaz-Canel regime and uplift the people of Cuba as they strive for freedom and democracy.”


Senator Roger Marshall said, “Communism’s false promises have failed to provide the Cuban people with economic prosperity and basic human rights. We must not turn a blind eye to these offenses, or we dangerously run the risk of legitimizing communism. America stands with the Cuban people in their demand for freedom. We will not sit quietly on the sidelines and Sen. Scott’s important legislation will help them accomplish this dream.”


Representative Byron Donalds said, “For six decades, the Cuban people have faced unimaginable horrors that have denied their fundamental human rights, subjected them to imprisonment and abuse, and limited the prosperity of millions. This legislation targets the worst abusers in the authoritarian government accountable are their egregious human rights violations against democracy activists and reaffirms our commitment to freedom, liberty, and justice. The Cuban people need and deserve the full support of the United States in their relentless and righteous fight for liberation from the Communist Cuban regime.”


Representative María Elvira Salazar said, “As the daughter of Cuban exiles, I am committed to fighting against the murderous regime that forced so many of us to flee. The DEMOCRACIA Act will ensure that any foreign company choosing to do business with the Castro regime will be blocked from doing business with the United States. We will not stand idly by as foreign businesses supply oxygen to a brutal dictatorship. The United States must not do business with dictators.”


Representative Mario Díaz-Balart said, “I am proud to, once again, join my colleagues in this crucial legislation to impose tough sanctions on those who enrich the murderous, oppressive, and anti-American Cuban dictatorship. As brave pro-democracy and human rights activists continue to face brutality, imprisonment, and repression for simply demanding freedom, this legislation will deny resources to the regime’s machinery of oppression, including the Cuban military and state security. I commend my colleagues, Congressman Byron Donalds and Senator Rick Scott, for their leadership in holding human rights abusers accountable, and for their strong solidarity with the Cuban people."


The Denying Earnings to the Military Oligarchy in Cuba and Restricting Activities of the Cuban Intelligence Apparatus Act (DEMOCRACIA Act):

  • Authorizes the President to impose sanctions—blocking assets and denying entry into the United States—on a foreign person if the President determines that the person knowingly engages in an activity with Cuba’s defense sector, security sector, intelligence sector, or any other sector involved in carrying out human rights abuses or providing support for international terrorism.
    • A foreign person or senior official that provides significant financial, material or technological support to, or engages in a significant transaction with Cuba’s defense, security or intelligence sector or any entity or individual affiliated with that sector (including their immediate adult family member)
    • Any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 25% or more by one or more designated persons are also subject to sanctions
    • Any foreign person that is a military contractor, mercenary or paramilitary force knowingly operating in a military, security, or intelligence capacity for or on behalf of the Cuban regime
  • Authorizes the President to impose sanctions with respect to human rights abuse and corruption in Cuba including:
    • Members of the Communist Party of Cuba, to include the Office of Religious Affairs and members of the Politburo and the Central Committee
    • Members of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers
    • Ministry of the Interior of Cuba, to include, the National Revolutionary Police Force
    • Members of the committee for the Defense of the Revolution
    • The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba
    • Office of the President of Cuba
    • Any official of the Cuban regime who works with the Ministry of Justice or the Office of the Attorney General and who violates due process rights of an individual in Cuba
    • The spouse and children of any of these blocked individuals are also subject to these sanctions
  • Authorizes the President to terminate these sanctions only if he certifies to Congress that the Government of Cuba:
    • Has released all political prisoners,
    • Legalized all political parties,
    • Establishes a free press, and
    • Free, fair, multiparty internationally observed elections are scheduled in a timely manner
  • Authorizes the President to immediately use all means possible to provide unrestricted, reliable internet service to the people of Cuba that is not censored or blocked by the Cuban regime
  • Requires the President to establish a taskforce to develop long-term solutions for providing reliable internet service to the people of Cuba that is not censored or blocked by the Cuban regime