The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was introduced this week in an effort to express “solidarity with Cuban citizens demonstrating peacefully for fundamental freedoms, condemning the Cuban regime’s acts of repression, and calling for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained Cuban citizens.”
Anti-government protesters gather at the Maximo Gomez monument in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Eliana Aponte)
The House passed the measure in a vote of 382 to 40, with all no votes coming from Democrats. Included in the list of Democrats who voted against the resolution are all members of the left-wing House “Squad,” as well as Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. Four lawmakers voted present, while five did not vote.
The resolution aimed to condemn the Cuban government’s response to a series of protests that occurred over the summer amid high prices, food shortages and the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Backers of the government march in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)
In addition, the measure calls for the Cuban government to allow Cubans to peacefully protest on Nov. 15 during a planned demonstration over civil rights orchestrated by a group called Archipelago.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who voted against the resolution, attempted to defend his vote, writing in a tweet that the resolution fails to acknowledge “the role the U.S. plays in contributing to the suffering of ordinary Cubans.”
A report by Human Rights Watch found that the Cuban government “systematically engaged in arbitrary detention, ill-treatment of detainees, and abuse-ridden criminal prosecutions in response to overwhelmingly peaceful anti-government protests in July 2021.”
People attend a cultural-political event on the seaside Malecon Avenue with thousands of people in a show of support for the Cuban revolution six days after the uprising of anti-government protesters across the island, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 17, 2021. (AP Photo / Ismael Francisco)
“When thousands of Cubans took to the streets in July, the Cuban government responded with a brutal strategy of repression designed to instill fear and suppress dissent,” Juan Pappier, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said at the time. “Peaceful protesters and other critics have been systematically detained, held incommunicado and abused in horrendous conditions, and subjected to sham trials following patterns that indicate these human rights violations are not the actions of rogue agents.”