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January 13, 2021


MIAMI, FL — Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (FL-27), joined by Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart (FL-25), Congressman Carlos Giménez (FL-26), Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Congressman Alex Mooney (WV-02), Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05), Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02), Congresswoman Kat Cammack (FL-03), and Congressman Michael Waltz (FL-06) have introduced H.R. 287, the Fighting Oppression until the Reign of Castro Ends Act, also known as the FORCE Act.

The State Department recently redesignated the Castro regime in Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism for granting safe harbor to terrorist fugitives and engaging in international terrorism. To ensure compliance and stop Cuba from sponsoring terrorism, this bill prevents the brutal Castro dictatorship from being removed from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List until they meet the requirements of Section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act (P.L. 104-114). Section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act requires Cuba to comply with the following conditions:

- Release all its political prisoners and allow for investigations of Cuban prisons by appropriate international human rights organizations.

- Transition away from the Castro regime to a system that guarantees the rights of the Cuban people to express themselves freely.

- Commit to holding free and fair elections.

These are the very same requirements that must be met to lift the embargo and accompanying sanctions towards the regime. In other words, this bill forces the regime to comply with existing U.S. law.

“As the daughter of Cuban refugees who fled the brutal dictatorship that continues to jail, starve, murder, and systematically oppress the people of Cuba, I am proud to introduce the FORCE Act. The FORCE Act holds the Castro regime accountable for harboring fugitives of the American justice system, propping up the Maduro and Ortega regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua respectively, and engaging in violent acts of terrorism across our hemisphere” said Congresswoman Salazar (FL-27).

“It is imperative that Cuba remain on the SST list for its support of foreign terrorist organizations such as the FARC and ELN, harboring terrorists such as Joanne Chesimard, and propping up the oppressive, anti-American dictatorship in Venezuela,” said Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart (FL-25). “I commend my colleague Rep. Salazar for introducing this important legislation to ensure that Cuba remains on the SST list until it stops spreading its malevolence throughout our hemisphere and ends its brutal repression of the Cuban people.”

“Sixty-two years ago, my mother fled Cuba because of Castro’s dictatorship and the vile acts his regime committed against the Cuban people,” said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11). “Fidel Castro may be gone but his oppressive and violent regime still exists today and they continue to harbor fugitives and terrorists, including those wanted by the United States. I’m proud to stand with Congresswoman Salazar and Cuban-Americans in Congress against Cuba’s lack of counterterrorism cooperation and also look forward to our continued work together to ensure the dangerous socialist policies our parents fled are not further spread and never brought to pass in the United States.”

“My mother fled Cuba after being imprisoned by the Castro dictatorship and today is a proud American citizen. The FORCE Act will hold the Castro regime accountable for the acts of terrorism they have committed. I am proud to cosponsor this bill, which will maintain that Cuba is a State Sponsor of Terrorism and will prevent the removal of that designation without significant reforms.” said Congressman Mooney (WV-02).

“I’m proud to join my colleague Rep. Salazar in working to hold the Cuban regime accountable and to advocate for the release of its political prisoners. It’s time for Cuba to transition away from its failed communist policies.” said Congresswoman Bice (OK-05).

“We must maintain a political posture of sustained pressure on the communist Castro regime in Cuba. Cuba’s fluctuating status as a state sponsor of terrorism weakens our grip of enforcement of the LIBERTAD Act and undercuts our diplomatic efforts to transition Cuba into a freer and more open country. Since its existence, the regime has consistently supported terrorism against the United States and critical allies around the world. Cuba serves as an epicenter of socialism in the region, actively working to undermine legitimate governments throughout the Western Hemisphere that the United States counts as partners and allies. Communist infiltrations in Venezuela and Nicaragua, as well as funding and training for communist guerrilla groups in Colombia, stem from the Castro regime’s vision for global politics. Cuba is no less of a threat to our national security interests than Iran, Syria, or North Korea – all nations on the State Department’s State Sponsor of Terrorism list. I thank Representative Salazar and my colleagues for helping to move this legislation forward.” said Congressman Carlos Giménez (FL-26).

Congresswoman Salazar represents Florida’s beautiful 27th Congressional district and is a lifelong champion for freedom, democracy, and Human Rights.

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