WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott, joined by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, led members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate in a letter to leaders of the member nations of the Organization of American States and the European Union, as well as to other democratic nations and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging them to stand up and support the Cuban people in their fight for freedom. The letter, signed by 143 members of Congress including Senator Marco Rubio, Senate Minority Whip John Thune, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, Representative Carlos Gimenez and Representative Maria Elvira Salazar highlights four actions the democratically-elected leaders of the world’s free countries must take in support of the Cuban people and their democratic aspirations. These actions include denouncing the illegitimate regime and holding it accountable for its horrific human rights abuses through an International Criminal Tribunal; ending all financial support to the regime; coordinating democratic assistance for the brave Cuban freedom advocates; and restoring telecommunications and internet access on the island.

 

Read the letter HERE or below.

July 21, 2021

Dear Leaders of Democratic States:

In the streets of Cuba, the people are bravely marching for a new day of freedom and demanding an end to the illegitimate, brutal Cuban dictatorship. After more than six decades of brutally oppressive rule, the Cuban people are risking their lives to loudly denounce the disastrous communist regime that has time and time again failed to promote and protect the general welfare of its citizens. The people are shouting “libertad,” and demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. As the Cuban people risk their lives for freedom, the world must stand with them in this critically important moment. As the democratically-elected leaders of the world’s free countries, we write to you today to fervently implore you to take action in support of the Cuban people and their democratic aspirations. It is time to finally end the evil and murderous reign of the communist, illegitimate Cuban regime that has murdered, tortured and oppressed for far too long.

In concerted solidarity with the Cuban people, we believe there are four essential actions that we all must take immediately to promote freedom for the Cuban people and place further pressure on the corrupt and murderous Cuban regime to end its reign of terror.

First, we urge you to emphatically denounce the illegitimate Cuban regime, hold it accountable for its human rights abuses and immediately end diplomatic relations. Freedom-loving nations must make clear our full and unwavering support for Cuba's pro-democracy movement, and for free and fair elections, with international supervision. Additionally, all political prisoners must be released unconditionally, independent media uncensored and political parties legalized. In Cuba, the basic civil and human rights of the people have been systematically stripped away by the communist regime. Just last week, as peaceful protests continued across the island, the regime sought to silence powerful voices speaking out for freedom. They targeted and captured Berta Soler, an Afro-Cuban activist and the leader of the renowned human rights group, “The Ladies in White.” The regime has also kidnapped Cuban opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer and his 18-year-old son. Thankfully, José’s son and Berta have been released, but Mr. Ferrer remains jailed and Berta is trapped in her home which is surrounded by the regime’s security forces. These are just two examples of the atrocious actions this brutal dictatorship has taken in recent days.

Over the last week, Cuban activists have been regularly kidnapped, unjustly jailed, physically mutilated and murdered. A priest was left bruised and bloodied after he was beaten with a baseball bat, children have been ripped from their homes and forced to assist the regime’s thugs in oppressing protesters and images of bloodied, unarmed protesters have flooded social media. Some protesters have been killed. The international community must come together with one voice to condemn these criminal abuses and demand freedom for the people. Furthermore, we encourage you to work with us in forming an International Criminal Tribunal for Cuba for crimes against humanity and work to hold the communist regime accountable. Organizations such as JusticeCuba, Cuba Archives and the Cuban American Bar Association have already been compiling the names and crimes of those who have committed human rights abuses.

Second, we believe it is critical that the freedom-loving nations of the world immediately end all financial support to the regime. A full withdrawal of financial support by the international community will end a critical lifeline that allows the Cuban regime to maintain its tight grip on power. Any nation that stands for freedom, democracy and human rights cannot also continue to support the communist Cuban regime’s brutal oppression with appeasement policies in the form of increased trade, tourism, extensions of credit or investments in joint ventures with the regime. Cuba’s tourism is largely run by the Cuban military, and stays in Cuban hotels, use of foreign currency exchanges and even purchases in regime-controlled stores directly benefit the Cuban people’s oppressors. The failed appeasement policies of the Obama-Biden administration did nothing to promote freedom for the Cuban people or end the oppression forced on them by Cuba’s malevolent dictatorship – it only emboldened the regime and funded its campaign of oppression. All money that goes into Cuba through any trade, tourism or commercial relationship directly enriches the regime.

Third, we believe the world’s democracies must work collaboratively to coordinate democratic assistance for the brave Cuban freedom advocates. We must rally worldwide support for democracy assistance for former political prisoners and their families, civil society leaders, pro-democracy movements and other democracy building assistance directly to the Cuban people. Former communist countries who have transitioned to democracy, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, are particularly adept at this type of assistance and have experience on the island. This outreach must be expanded, and the international community must stand together to do even more to support those fighting for democracy on the island.

Finally, it is of utmost importance that we do everything in our power to make sure the people of Cuba can communicate with each other and the outside world through unfettered internet access, cellular service, cellular and satellite phones, and other technology that may assist the democratic opposition. A primary weapon of dictatorships like the Cuban regime is silencing their opposition: they stop them from talking to each other, from receiving information from those around the world who want to help them, and from getting the images of the regime’s oppression to the outside world. It is no surprise that one of the regime’s first acts at the beginning of these historic protests was to cut off the people’s internet and cellular service. It is also no surprise that the Chinese Communist regime aids in suppression of the operation of its communications network. We must help the Cuban people overcome the telecommunications and cellular services blockade so that they may receive outside information from a variety of sources, and maintain connections with each other.

Today, after decades of tyranny, oppression and economic devastation because of communist rule, the Cuban people are rising up for freedom. They are rising up for opportunity. They are rising up for democracy. It’s time to end this terrible plague of communism on the Cuban people. It’s time for freedom and democracy to prevail. We urge you to stand up for a free Cuba and show your commitment to freedom with immediate action to support their cause. The time for democracy in Cuba is now.

Sincerely,

Rick Scott

United States Senator

Kevin McCarthy

Republican Leader

Marco Rubio

United States Senator

Mario Diaz-Balart

Member of Congress

John Thune

United States Senator

Steve Scalise

Member of Congress

Thom Tillis

United States Senator

Carlos A. Gimenez

Member of Congress

Kevin Cramer

United States Senator

María Elvira Salazar

Member of Congress

John Hoeven

United States Senator

Michael T. McCaul

Ranking Member

Foreign Affairs Committee

Mike Braun

United States Senator

Devin Nunes

Ranking Member

Committee on Intelligence

Cynthia M. Lummis

United States Senator

Alex X. Mooney

Member of Congress

Roger Marshall

United States Senator

Mark E. Green, M.D.

Member of Congress

Ken Calvert

Member of Congress

Nicole Malliotakis

Member of Congress

Christopher H. Smith

Member of Congress

Jennifer González-Colón

Member of Congress

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Ranking Member

Energy and Commerce Committee

Hal Rogers

Member of Congress

Victoria Spartz

Member of Congress

Kay Granger

Ranking Member

Appropriations Committee

Madison Cawthorn

Member of Congress

Bill Huizenga

Member of Congress

Diana Harshbarger

Member of Congress

Stephanie Bice

Member of Congress

Michael Waltz

Member of Congress

Mike Garcia

Member of Congress

Scott Franklin

Member of Congress

Ted Budd

Member of Congress

Jackie Walorski

Member of Congress

W. Gregory Steube

Member of Congress

Austin Scott

Member of Congress

Louie Gohmert

Member of Congress

Ashley Hinson

Member of Congress

David B. McKinley P.E.

Member of Congress

Steve Womack

Member of Congress

Mike D. Rogers

Ranking Member

Armed Services Committee

Dan Meuser

Member of Congress

Gregory F. Murphy, M.D.

Member of Congress

Lisa McClain

Member of Congress

Jeff Duncan

Member of Congress

David Rouzer

Member of Congress

H. Morgan Griffith

Member of Congress

Robert E. Latta

Member of Congress

Barry Moore

Member of Congress

Dusty Johnson

Member of Congress

Jeff Duncan

Member of Congress

Jack Bergman

Member of Congress

Nancy Mace

Member of Congress

Guy Reschenthaler

Member of Congress

Cliff Bentz

Member of Congress

David Kustoff

Member of Congress

Debbie Lesko

Member of Congress

Earl L. “Buddy” Carter

Member of Congress

Barry Loudermilk

Member of Congress

Don Bacon

Member of Congress

Andrew R. Garbarino

Member of Congress

Fred Keller

Member of Congress

Troy Balderson

Member of Congress

Robert J. Wittman

Member of Congress

Vicky Hartzler

Member of Congress

Tom McClintock

Member of Congress

Richard Hudson

Member of Congress

Bill Posey

Member of Congress

Glenn “GT” Thompson

Ranking Member

Agriculture Committee

Ken Buck

Member of Congress

Bill Johnson

Member of Congress

John Joyce, M.D.

Member of Congress

August Pfluger

Member of Congress

Brian Mast

Member of Congress

Robert B. Aderholt

Member of Congress

Brett Guthrie

Member of Congress

Patrick McHenry

Ranking Member

Financial Services Committee

Bob Gibbs

Member of Congress

Carol D. Miller

Member of Congress

Darrell Issa

Member of Congress

Virginia Foxx

Member of Congress

Steve Chabot

Member of Congress

Bryan Steil

Member of Congress

Pete Stauber

Member of Congress

Lee Zeldin

Member of Congress

Rodney Davis

Ranking Member

House Administration Committee

Ann Wagner

Member of Congress

Ronny L. Jackson

Member of Congress

Chris Stewart

Member of Congress

Gus M. Billirakis

Member of Congress

Greg Pence

Member of Congress

John Rose

Member of Congress

Brad Wenstrup

Member of Congress

Randy Feenstra

Member of Congress

Mike Simpson

Member of Congress

Daniel Webster

Member of Congress

Young Kim

Member of Congress

Glenn Grothman

Member of Congress

James R. Baird

Member of Congress

Beth Van Duyne

Member of Congress

John H. Rutherford

Member of Congress

Scott Fitzgerald

Member of Congress

Pete Sessions

Member of Congress

Elise Stefanik

GOP Conference Chair

Andy Harris, M.D.

Member of Congress

Adrian Smith

Member of Congress

Tim Walberg

Member of Congress

Kelly Armstrong

Member of Congress

Mo Brooks

Member of Congress

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D.

Member of Congress

Fred Upton

Member of Congress

Russ Fulcher

Member of Congress

Neal P. Dunn, M.D.

Member of Congress

French Hill

Member of Congress

Markwayne Mullin

Member of Congress

Mark E. Amodei

Member of Congress

Eric A. “Rick” Crawford

Member of Congress

Mike Johnson

GOP Conference Vice Chair

Van Taylor

Member of Congress

Ralph Norman

Member of Congress

Jodey C. Arrington

Member of Congress

Tracey Mann

Member of Congress

Chris Jacobs

Member of Congress

Gary Palmer

Member of Congress

Frank D. Lucas

Member of Congress

Mike Gallagher

Member of Congress

Ben Cline

Member of Congress

Michael Guest

Member of Congress

Lance Gooden

Member of Congress

Mike Bost

Member of Congress

Ron Estes

Member of Congress

Sam Graves

Ranking Member

Transportation Committee

Brian Babin, D.D.S.

Member of Congress

Byron Donalds

Member of Congress

John Katko

Ranking Member

Homeland Security Committee

Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

Member of Congress

Bruce Westerman

Member of Congress

John Curtis

Member of Congress

Lloyd Smucker

Member of Congress

Clay Higgins

Member of Congress

Darin LaHood

Member of Congress

Jody Hice

Member of Congress

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