WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration's efforts to support the Cuban people as the island's pro-democracy movement surges: 

“The Díaz Canel regime has shown its depravity in the past week, desperately unleashing a campaign of violence, human rights abuses, and forced disappearances against the Cuban people, all while blocking internet access out of sheer panic that its citizens will continue shining a light on the ugly reality of life on the island. Amidst this wave of brutal repression, the Biden administration is sending a clear message that the United States will not give in or give up on our commitment to a democratic Cuba by enhancing our support for the peaceful civil society movements, independent media, and Cuban families risking it all to demand freedom from dictatorship.
 
"As I told President Biden and Secretary Blinken, we must make sure that U.S. actions are aimed solely at helping the Cuban people and holding the regime to account for its brutality. That is precisely what this Administration is doing with these initial efforts to deploy the tools we have to expand unrestricted internet access, increase targeted sanctions against regime officials for human rights abuses, and ensure that remittances go to the Cubans who need them most and not into the regime’s coffers.
 
“As the United States government strengthens its engagement with Cuban civil society and support for Cuban families, I will work closely with the State Department in its review of staffing levels at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba to make sure we prioritize the health and safety of our diplomatic corps and hold accountable all actors involved in the attacks on U.S. personnel.
 
“These efforts mark an important first step to doubling down on U.S. commitment to the Cuban people, and I will continue working closely with the Administration to implement additional recommendations for U.S. policy. The Cuban people are risking it all by taking to the streets to call for an end to tyranny, and it is more important than ever that the international community listen to their stories, feel the despair and fear with which they live, and stand-up with and for them. I commend President Biden’s showing of support for Cubans at this critical moment and his willingness to listen to directly impacted people on and off the island.”

###