WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), along with Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas-10) and other colleagues today introduced a bipartisan resolution commemorating the second anniversary of Cuba’s historic and peaceful demonstrations that took place on July 11, 2021. The resolution condemns ongoing acts of repression and human rights violations by the Cuban regime, and calls for the immediate release of all wrongfully and arbitrarily detained Cuban citizens. It also calls on the Cuban regime to recognize and abide by the June 12, 2023, decision of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, which finds the regime responsible for the murder of democratic activists Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero and calls for accountability for their murders.
The resolution was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), as well as Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.-25), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.-26), Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.-23), Mike Waltz (R-Fla.-06), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.-24), Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.-28), Darren Soto (D-Fla.-09), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.-27), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.-14), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.-11), Susan Wild (D-Penn.-07), Jennifer González-Colon (R-Puerto Rico), and Alec Mooney (R-Va.-02).
“Two years ago, the Cuban people valiantly took to the streets to call for democratic reforms, political pluralism, and the recognition of their basic civil liberties. The government brutally cracked down on the peaceful protests, resulting in at least one death and the arrests of hundreds of demonstrators on spurious charges,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “As we mark two years since the protests, the United States must continue to hold accountable the regime for its human rights abuses and stand with the Cuban people in their enduring quest for democracy.”
“Two years ago today, the Cuban people—driven by the universal desire for freedom and justice—took to the streets in record numbers to peacefully stand up against authoritarian rule,” said Chairman Menendez. “In the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition, they openly defied the Cuban regime, serving as a beacon of hope to those across the global community who yearn for liberty and the ability to express themselves freely. Despite the arbitrary detention of these protestors and increased repression and deteriorating human rights conditions on the island since then, Cubans remain undeterred in their fight against tyranny. This bipartisan resolution demonstrates Congress’ enduring commitment to stand in their corner.”
“Cubans deserve liberty and all that it entails, and Congress must do everything in our power to support their fight for their freedom,” stated Chairman McCaul. “I’m proud to join my Republican and Democrat colleagues in the both the House and the Senate to sponsor this bipartisan resolution with my colleagues stating our solidarity with the brave Cuban people. As the people of Cuba continue to stand up against the oppressive Castro regime that has doomed three generations of Cubans, I hope they know the United States stands with them.”
“When the Cuban people courageously protested throughout the streets on July 11, 2021, they demonstrated their long-held desire for basic freedoms, after decades of oppression by a Marxist and criminal dictatorship,” said Senator Rubio. “This bipartisan resolution commemorates the 2nd anniversary of this historic event, when Cubans from all walks of life, peacefully marched against a totalitarian and murderous regime that has subjected them to unimaginable hardships while only enriching itself.”
“The Cuban people have been failed time and again by dictatorial regimes that strip away their freedoms, from expression and assembly to basic human rights,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Right now, over one thousand political prisoners remain detained, most of whom were participants in peaceful demonstrations that occurred two years ago today. Even as they have lost the support of their people, Cuba’s oligarchs cling to power with help from adversaries like Russia, China, and Iran. These pro-democracy activists need our help – and that’s why it’s so critical to send today’s bipartisan message of solidarity to them, and to condemn the Diáz-Canel regime’s repression and human rights violations. Congress proudly stands with the Cuban people and its democratic aspirations.”
“We have seen 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,” said Senator Richard Durbin. “In the Senate, I have long condemned the Cuban government’s violent response to the thousands of Cuban citizens who have taken to the streets to peacefully call for respect for basic human rights and the end of the dictatorship. As we approach the 11th anniversary of Cuban democracy activist Oswaldo Payá’s suspicious death, I stand with the Cuban people in their peaceful demand for a brighter future.”
“Two years ago, the world saw incredible patriots in the streets of Cuba risk their lives to stand up for freedom and protest against the despotic communist regime,” said Senator Cruz. “The people of Cuba deserve to be free. They deserve human rights. They deserve free speech. They deserve free and fair elections. This resolution sends a powerful signal that the United States stands in solidarity with the Cuban people and condemns the oppressive regime that silences brave voices for freedom.”
“Two years ago, the Cuban people bravely took to the streets to demand “Libertad!” Their cries for freedom continue today, and many of the protesters from two years ago remain imprisoned today for daring to oppose tyranny. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in introducing this bicameral, bipartisan resolution, which expresses solidarity with their cause and honors their sacrifices. The Cuban people will be free, and I believe that the July 11, 2021 protests will be remembered as a watershed moment in Cuba’s path to democracy,” said Representative Mario Diaz-Balart.
In 2021, the Senate unanimously adopted Chairman Menendez’s bipartisan and bicameral resolution condemning the Cuban regime’s brazen violence against thousands of Cuban citizens who took to the streets to peacefully call for democracy and respect for fundamental freedoms.
A copy of the resolution is available here.