This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., led members of the Florida delegation in sending a letter to Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Tania Reneaum Panszi, urging her “to direct the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to initiate an immediate investigation into the regime’s violations of the human rights of the Cuban people.”
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Scott Franklin, R-Fla., Carlos Giménez, R-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla., and Dan Webster, R-Fla.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Secretary Panszi:
We write with urgency regarding the historic and ongoing protests in Cuba. As you know, starting on July 11, thousands of Cubans rose up in cities across the island to protest against the chronic mismanagement and oppression of the Castro-Díaz-Canel regime. In order to maintain its tight control of the country, that regime has unjustly detained an unknown number of people. We urge you to direct the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to initiate an immediate investigation into the regime’s violations of the human rights of the Cuban people.
On July 15, 2021, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) requested Cuba to take urgent action to investigate 187 cases of alleged enforced disappearances of Cuban protesters and identify the perpetrators responsible for enforced disappearances. According to CED, “hundreds of people were reportedly detained or intercepted by security forces in more than 15 cities” in Cuba. We wish to echo and add to these concerns. According to information on social media and independent media sources, the true number of enforced disappearances and detainment of protesters is likely more than 5,000, which is much larger than the 187 cases mentioned by CED. Given the CED’s request, and significant number of people that are detained, We urge you to open a parallel investigation into these cases, as well as into the Cuban regime’s compliance with the CED request. To support this effort, we have attached to this letter a broader list of cases prepared by the Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana (FDP).
We have significant doubts as to the regime’s intention to credibly investigate these cases. During the 62 years of the regime’s rule on the island, it has consistently denied independent monitors, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch from investigating human rights abuses on the island. This creates an environment in Cuba that provides a complete lack of accountability for the perpetrators of human rights abuses.
At this historic time, it is more important than ever for the international community to pay attention to the historic protests in Cuba. The only way to break down the culture of impunity within the regime is to investigate and publicize its crimes against the people of Cuba. We know you share our goal to hold those perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable, both in Cuba and the rest of the region.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.