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Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was joined by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Rick Scott (R-FL) in sending a letter to Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States and Mexico, Rolandas  Kriš?i?nas, urging the Lithuanian parliament to reject the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) treaty between the European Union (EU) and Cuba. The EU finalized this agreement in November 2016 despite concern by some EU member states as well as human rights and democracy activists around the world.
 
“It is our understanding that the PDCA was adopted in principle by the EU in 2017 and Lithuania is one of the last countries that has yet to ratify it,” wrote the senators. “The Cuban regime remains an unfortunate remnant of the same communism that severely oppressed Lithuanians, and millions of others in the region, and continues to do so today in Venezuela and throughout Latin America.”
 
Rubio is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.
 
The full text of the letter is below.
 
We write in regards to the upcoming vote in Lithuania’s Parliament on the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the European Union (EU) and Cuba. The United States and Lithuania share a vision and set of values that have served as a foundation of the relationship between our nations for decades. Both of our countries understand the human cost of communism and must continue to work together to promote human rights and democratic values. Therefore, we urge the Lithuanian Parliament to oppose any agreement that would provide economic assistance to the brutal communist regime in Cuba.
 
It is our understanding that the PDCA was adopted in principle by the EU in 2017 and Lithuania is one of the last countries that has yet to ratify it. The Cuban regime remains an unfortunate remnant of the same communism that severely oppressed Lithuanians, and millions of others in the region, and continues to do so today in Venezuela and throughout Latin America.
 
The Cuban regime’s violation of democratic norms and human rights have continued to worsen over the years, even as it increases its engagement with the rest of the world. Expanding political and economic benefits to an unreformed, intransigent regime in no way benefits the Cuban people, but instead serves to empower their oppressors.
 
As the United States and Lithuania share a commitment to freedom around the world, including in Cuba, we urge the Lithuanian Parliament to reject this agreement and stand in solidarity with the Cuban people.
 
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
 
Sincerely,