40 House Democrats vote against resolution supporting Cuban protesters
Forty House Democrats voted against a resolution on Wednesday that condemned the Cuban government and supported protesters in the country.
The resolution said it was focused on “expressing 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.”
The House passed the resolution in a 382-40 vote, with all 40 votes against it coming from Democrats. Three of the four “present” votes were from Democrats, with five lawmakers not voting.
The resolution condemned Cuba’s response to a massive anti-government protest that occurred over the summer, stemming from food shortages and the economic situation in the country.
Human Rights Watch found 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.”
The resolution also calls on the Cuban government to allow Cubans to peacefully protest on Nov. 15 when a group called Archipelago is planning to demonstrate over civil rights.
Yunior Garcia, leader of the Archipelago group, said prosecutors with the government held a meeting with him to discourage the protest and said there could be legal ramifications.
“We are not mercenaries, nor are we receiving orders from anyone,” Garcia said recently, according to Reuters. “We are openly demonstrating a difference of opinion.”
Many of the “no” votes Wednesday came from the Democrats from the party’s more progressive side.
Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.), one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, told NBC News that the rejection of the resolution by some Democrats shows “how extreme the leadership in the Democratic Party is.”
But Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.), one of the Democrats who voted against the resolution, defended his vote, saying the measure failed to acknowledge “the role the U.S. plays in contributing to the suffering of ordinary Cubans.”
I stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba & condemn the Cuban government’s excessive use of force against peaceful protesters. But I reject the false choice H. Res. 760 presented by not acknowledging the role the U.S. plays in contributing to the suffering of ordinary Cubans. pic.twitter.com/Ns5BZJw5mJ
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) November 3, 2021
The resolution called on the Cuban government to release all political prisoners and to stop blocking access to the internet for its citizens.
It also urged the Biden administration to work with Cuban activists, rally international support, support protesters’ goals for freedom and “assess whether the United States can develop methods to allow remittances, medical supplies, and other forms of support from the United States to directly benefit the Cuban people.”