GOP seeks meeting with Biden on responding to Cuba crackdown

A group of Congressional Republicans wrote to President Biden seeking a meeting to discuss how the US can better respond to the anti-government protests in Cuba, according to a report.

The 19 lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, requested the sitdown to determine how the administration and Congress “can work together to bring an end to the oppressive communist regime in Havana and liberate the Cuban people.”

“Now is the time to act,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter​ sent Monday and obtained by The Hill.

​Hundreds of Cubans took to the streets earlier this month to protest food shortages and rising prices amid the​ coronavirus pandemic, with many chanting “Freedom,” Enough,” and “Unite.”​

On Monday evening, a crowd of Cuban-Americans staged a rally outside the White House ​to encourage the administration to back the protests in the Caribbean nation. 

The GOP lawmakers said after decades of communist rule, “this is a moment when the United States can change the course of human history for the better.”

“The United States is a bastion of freedom and democracy; a beacon across the globe for those seeking to cast off the shackles of communist oppression; a beacon across the globe for those seeking to cast off the shackles of communist repression,” they wrote.

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the Cuba government in Havana on July 11, 2021.
A man is arrested during a demonstration against the Cuba government in Havana on July 11, 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

“We must support our Cuban brothers and sisters as they seek to take control of their future and liberate themselves from the communist malignancy,” they added.​

But the Republicans said “this pivotal moment is being squandered by indecision, bureaucracy, and a failure to lead​.​”

The administration last week sanctioned a Cuban official and a government agency over the protest crackdown.

​”My Administration is imposing new sanctions targeting elements of the Cuban regime responsible for this crackdown — the head of the Cuban military and the division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior driving the crackdown — to hold them accountable for their actions​,” the White House said in a statement​ last Thursday. 

The US also signed on to a statement with 20 other countries on Monday, condemning Cuba for arresting protesters. ​

“​The Cuban government has responded not by recognizing the voices of its own people, but by further stifling those voices through arbitrary detentions and secret summary trials lacking due process guarantees​,” the statement said.​

​”​The United States will continue to support the Cuban people’s desire for freedom and to determine their own future. This joint statement demonstrates that the Cuban people are not alone in their aspirations​,” it said. ​

Others signing on include: Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Guatemala, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Republic of Korea, and Ukraine.

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