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Chairman Sires Applauds the Cuban People’s Courage, Holds Press Conference with Cuban Leaders

Jul 12, 2021
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – In response to Cubans protesting in dozens of cities on July 11th against the Castro/Díaz-Canel dictatorship and in advance of a press conference to be held in West New York with Cuban leaders, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy issued the following statement:

“The peaceful protests in dozens of cities throughout Cuba yesterday were an inspiration to anyone who believes that all human beings have a right to express themselves freely without retribution. I applaud the thousands of Cubans who turned out in record numbers to speak out against the incompetence and repression of the Castro/Díaz-Canel dictatorship.

“Having been born in Bejucal, Cuba and fled the communist regime at age 11, I feel a deep connection to those who courageously took the streets yesterday. Like so many Cubans, I have never given up hope in believing that one day the Cuban people will finally break free from the chains of a six-decade dictatorship. I am deeply inspired by the tremendous courage I witnessed yesterday, and I will continue to do everything I can in Congress to promote the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people.

“As is all too common in Cuba, these peaceful demonstrations were met with repression when the Cuban regime responded with the only tool it knows how to deploy. I received dozens of reports of detentions and beatings, though this information was difficult to verify due to the service outages and internet blockades imposed by the regime. I call on the regime to immediately and unconditionally release all those who were arbitrarily detained, as well as the dozens of other political prisoners in Cuba. I also call on the dictatorship to cease its internet blockages and its censorship of communications, which are also violations of human rights.

“I deeply appreciate Speaker Pelosi’s expressions of support for the Cuban people. She has been a tireless advocate for democracy and human rights, and I will continue to work with her and my colleagues to promote freedom and democracy in Cuba.

“I urge our allies in the European Union and throughout Latin America to join the call for freedom in Cuba. Consistently advocating for human rights means doing so regardless of ideology or political preference. A dictatorship is a dictatorship and it is plain to see that this one is crumbling under mounting pressure, as Cubans’ calls for freedom grow stronger and stronger.”