Rick Scott, Byron Donalds Lead the Charge on Capitol Hill to Impose Tougher Sanctions on Cuban Regime

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., are leading the charge on Capitol Hill “to hold the illegitimate communist Cuban regime accountable through severe sanctions and unprecedented financial pressure.”

This week, Scott and Donalds announced their plans to introduce the “Denying Earnings to the Military Oligarchy in Cuba and Restricting Activities of the Cuban Intelligence Apparatus (DEMOCRACIA) Act.” U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Mike Braun, R-Ill., are co-sponsoring the bill in the U.S. Senate. Over in the U.S. House, Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar are among the co-sponsors.

On Tuesday, Scott weighed in on why he was bringing the bill out.

“For decades, Cuba has been the root of instability in Latin America and a constant threat to the national security of the United States,” 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,” Scott added.

“For six decades, the Cuban people have faced unimaginable horrors that have denied their fundamental human rights, subjected them to imprisonment and abuse, and limited the prosperity of millions. This legislation targets the worst abusers in the authoritarian government accountable are 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,” Donalds said.

“Expanding from existing legislation, the DEMOCRACIA Act seeks to impose a cost on individuals who continue to oppress the people of Cuba. 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,” said Rubio.

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. 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,” said Diaz-Balart.

“The Biden administration’s mishandling of the Cuba issue has been a disgrace,” said Gimenez. “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. 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,” said Salazar.

The proposal gives the president more authority to impose sanctions on individuals and companies working with the Cuban regime, including the defense, security and intelligence authorities. The bill would also have the White House offer “unrestricted, reliable internet service to the people of Cuba that is not censored or blocked by the Cuban regime” and create a task force on the matter.

Kevin Derby
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