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Washington D.C.- House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul gave the following opening remarks at a Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy subcommittee hearing on the historic protests in Cuba and the regime’s crackdown on free expression.
In his opening remarks, Lead Republican McCaul highlighted this pivotal point in history as the people of Cuba protest the communist dictatorship that has repressed them for over 60 years and how the U.S. can be an ally in their fight for freedom.
“Cubans deserve liberty and all that it entails. And we must do everything in our power to fight with them for their freedom. And that work begins in Congress and at the White House. I was proud to cosponsor a bipartisan resolution with my colleagues stating our solidarity with the brave Cuban people. We must also make sure the administration is doing everything it can to provide uncensored internet access around the country. We need to work with the Biden Administration to lead the international effort for Cuban freedom and freedom fighters supporting the democracy leaders and activists on the island.”
-Opening Remarks As Delivered-
“Thank you to Chairman Sires and Ranking Member Green for the passionate remarks this morning and holding for this important hearing on the historic protests we are seeing in Cuba.
I think this a pivotal point in history and time, and we need to take advantage of it.
Since last Sunday, tens of thousands of brave Cubans from all around the country have protested the communist dictatorship that has repressed them for over 60 years.
And despite being met with brutal violence and censorship, they continue risking their lives to fight for freedom.
And as freedom-loving Americans, we stand with them.
The people of Cuba were promised communism would work.
They were told to sacrifice their freedoms and ambitions in exchange for a utopia of equality and world class healthcare.
Instead, the three generations for 60 years have been doomed to misery and shortages as a result of this failed ideology.
Brave Cubans have woken up to the lies and propaganda fed to them by Fidel Castro and his cronies.
The world must bear witness and recognize the significance of this historic time.
And they are protesting the dictatorship waving the greatest symbol of liberty, Libertad, known to man: the American flag.
Because they know – and the regime knows – that America stands for everything the Cubans are fighting for: freedom, liberty, and democracy.
Regime thugs are snatching innocent Cubans from their homes simply for calling for freedom.
And we know the Venezuelans are in there too. With their military, as they knock doors down and take people out of their homes and throw them in prison.
The idea that a protester will be sentenced to 20 years of prison, for simply exercising what is sacred in this country, what is a right to free speech.
They are violently cracking down and violating the religious freedoms and liberties of the Cuban people.
They are also using Chinese technology to block and censor internet access from the island. And this committee will be working with technologies with the State Department to open up those lines of communication.
We cannot let our adversaries take advantage of the situation and infiltrate our hemisphere.
And The world is watching very closely. What we do at this moment in time. And these human rights violations cannot, and will not, go unpunished.
Cubans deserve liberty and all that it entails. And we must do everything in our power to fight with them for their freedom.
And that work begins in Congress and at the White House. I was proud to cosponsor a bipartisan resolution with my colleagues stating our solidarity with the brave Cuban people.
We must also make sure the administration is doing everything it can to provide uncensored internet access around the country.
We need to work with the Biden Administration to lead the international effort for Cuban freedom and freedom fighters supporting the democracy leaders and activists on the island.
Simply put, we have a moral obligation and a duty to support their aspirations.
We need our democratic and freedom-loving allies around the world, peace loving people around the world to stand with the people of Cuba to support them against this oppressive regime.
I also want to take a moment to commend our witness, Rosa Maria Paya, for her strength and for her advocacy.
Almost 9 years ago today, her father was murdered by the Cuban regime. And we are so sorry Paya. And many others were killed too and many sit in prison rotting in jail because of this monster and his successors.
He was an internationally known Cuban dissident and to this day, his death has never been properly investigated.
Your family, like many others of who dare to speak truth to power, has paid the ultimate price in your struggle for freedom and I have to say that I admire your bravery.
Thank you for being here today.
What is happening in Cuba is all the proof we need that communism and socialism are bankrupted ideologies that only lead to utter failure and human misery.
So, in closing, as Cubans continue to stand up and reject communism and the dictatorship that has doomed three generations of Cubans, let me just say we will stand with them as they bravely fight for freedom.
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