A group of 19 Republican lawmakers penned a letter to President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE on Monday requesting a meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Cuba, which has escalated in recent weeks following protests against the government.
The coalition of GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWhite House debates vaccines for air travel McCarthy on Dems' spending bill: 'The amount of money we spent to win World War II' Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE (Calif.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMilley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (Fla.), specifically requested the meeting to discuss how Congress and the administration “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.
The protesters were demonstrating against food shortages and high prices sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of activists and journalists have been arrested since the protests broke out, and at least one person has been killed.
The Cuban government, following the historic protests, imposed an internet blackout that left a large percentage of the island disconnected, The Washington Post reported. The move made it more difficult for activists who were trying to track or publicize the scope of the security restrictions.
Internet access, however, reportedly began to turn back on days later, according to the Post.
The Republicans wrote that “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,” they wrote.
“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.
The lawmakers said they are “concerned that this pivotal moment is being squandered by indecision, bureaucracy, and a failure to lead,” before formally requesting a meeting with Biden.
The U.S., along with a group of roughly 20 other countries, issued a statement on Monday condemning the arrest of protesters in Cuba. The statement urged Havana to “respect the universal rights and freedoms of the Cuban people, including the free flow of information to all Cubans.”
Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Guatemala, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, South Korea and Ukraine also signed on to the statement.