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Rubio Joins R. Scott, Congressman Donalds in Introducing Legislation to Sanction Cuban Regime for Human Rights Abuses

Oct 12, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) in introducing the Denying Earnings to the Military Oligarchy in Cuba and Restricting Activities of the Cuban Intelligence Apparatus (DEMOCRACIA) Act. This bicameral legislation would hold the illegitimate regime in Cuba accountable for its significant human rights abuses by imposing severe sanctions and unprecedented financial pressure. 
Joining Rubio and Scott in introducing the legislation were Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Roger Marshall (R-KS). Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Byron Donalds (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Brian Babin (R-TX), and Alex Mooney (R-WV). 
Rubio is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues. 
“Expanding from existing legislation, the DEMOCRACIA Act seeks to impose a cost on individuals who continue to oppress the people of Cuba,” Rubio said. “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.”  
“For decades, Cuba has been the root of instability in Latin America and a constant threat to the national security of the United States,” R. Scott said. “The Castro 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. As the Cuban people’s fight for freedom from the oppressive and illegitimate communist Cuban regime continues, the United States must stand up for Cuban democracy. 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.”
“For six decades, the Cuban people have faced unimaginable horrors that have denied their fundamental human rights, subjected them to political imprisonment and abuse, and limited the prosperity of millions,” Donalds said. “This bipartisan legislation targets the worst abusers in the authoritarian government for 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.” 
“Cubans continue to suffer at the hands of the communist Castro regime that denies them freedom and arrests anyone who speaks out to call for change,” Marshall said. “The truth is, the regime’s communist and socialist policies have failed. They have failed in their healthcare system, failed to put food in their grocery stores, and failed to allow Cubans to provide for their families. For 60 years, Cubans have faced brutal communist rule, suppression of dissent, and a socialist economy that has robbed them of their dreams. America stands with Cuba in their demand for change. We will not sit quietly on the sidelines in their fight for freedom.”
“The oppression endured by the Cuban people is an ongoing tragedy,” Tuberville said. “Those who enjoy the liberties of freedom must not be silent. With sanctions and economic pressure, we stand with our friends and allies in Cuba against Castro and his brutal communist regime.”
“Today, my colleagues and I are introducing legislation to deny material support to the brutal, oppressive, and anti-American Cuban dictatorship and to require the Biden Administration to use any available means to provide internet access to the Cuban people – which they have refused to do so far,” Diaz-Balart said. “As brave pro-democracy and human rights activists continue to demand freedom, and many remain imprisoned for daring to speak out against the regime, this legislation is critical to promoting a free and democratic Cuba. I commend my colleagues, Congressman Byron Donalds and Senator Rick Scott, for standing with the Cuban people.”
“The Biden Administration’s mishandling of the Cuba issue has been a disgrace,” Gimenez said. “The United States must have a strong posture against the evil, communist Castro regime and maintain a firm and unequivocal commitment to the freedom-seeking Cuban people. By sanctioning individuals within the apparatus of power of the Communist Party of Cuba, we are sending a clear message to the Cuban people and around the world that we stand firmly on the side of political and economic freedom. This issue is a personal one to me. I will always stand firmly on the side of all who yearn for freedom and democracy. I thank Senator Rick Scott and my colleague Byron Donalds in the House for introducing this important legislation.”
“I represent Florida’s 27th district – home to the largest Cuban exile community in the United States,” Salazar said. “As the daughter of Cuban exiles myself, I am committed to fighting against the murderous regime that forced so many of us to flee. This critical legislation ensures that any foreign company choosing to do business with the Castro regime will be blocked from American money and markets. We will not stand idly by as foreign businesses supply oxygen to a brutal dictatorship for their own financial gain. The United States must not and will not do business with dictators or their cronies.”

This legislation: 

  • 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,
    • Established 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; and
  • 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.