Last week, Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–teamed up with U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., on the “Fighting Oppression until the Reign of Castro Ends (FORCE) Act” to keep Cuba on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List.
“Under the FORCE Act, Cuba cannot be removed from the U.S. Department of State’s Sponsor of Terrorism list until the requirements under the LIBERTAD Act…are met. Specifically, Section 205 of that public law requires Cuba to release all of its political prisoners and transition to a system that guarantees the basic human rights of the Cuban people, as well as free, fair, and democratic elections,” Rubio’s office noted.
Rubio and Scott weighed in on the proposal last week.
“The Trump administration was right to reverse President Obama’s removal of the Cuban regime as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” Rubio said. “Under this new administration, we must ensure the meaningful actions to hold the despotic Castro and Díaz-Canel regime accountable remain in place. I am proud to work with my colleagues and lead this effort in the Senate, and thank Congresswoman Salazar for her leadership in the House of Representatives.”
“My family knows firsthand the brutality of totalitarian Cuban regimes, and Cuba’s abuses have not ceased,” Cruz said. “I am deeply concerned that President Biden plans to follow in the ill-advised steps of the Obama administration, which would recklessly and needlessly endanger American national security.”
“Cuba is the root of the instability we see in Latin America,” Scott said. “The Obama-Biden administration’s appeasement policies toward Cuba allowed Havana to extend its reach and expand its control, giving power to other ruthless dictatorships in Latin America. Today, Cuba continues to oppress its people and those across Latin America by supporting narco-states run by dictators like Maduro in Venezuela and Ortega in Nicaragua, while harboring terrorist groups. Until Cuba is a free and democratic country, the U.S. should not remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List. The Biden administration cannot back down in the fight against rouge nations or take any action that will help strengthen the Castro regime.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week.
Salazar introduced the House version of the bill back in January and she weighed in as the Senate version was brought out.
“As the daughter of Cuban refugees who fled the brutal dictatorship that continues to jail, starve, murder, and systematically oppress the people of Cuba, I was so proud to introduce the force act in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Salazar said. “I want to thank our senator, Marco Rubio, for leading the FORCE Act through the Senate. The Castro regime has terrorized the Cuban people for 62 years and we must hold them accountable for their participation in international terrorism!”
Salazar’s bill is before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. There are more than 10 co-sponsors in the House including Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn, Scott Franklin, Carlos Gimenez, Greg Steube and Michael Waltz.
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