Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
November 3, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of H. Res. 760, a resolution expressing solidarity with peaceful protesters in Cuba ahead of scheduled November 15 pro-democracy protests. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.
 
Click here for the full video.

“I thank the Chairman for yielding. I thank him for his support. I want to thank the Chairman of the [Foreign Affairs] Committee as well for his agreeing to have this come to the Floor. I look forward to his support.

“I want to say, Mr. Speaker, I have talked to a lot of Members about this. The policies that we have regarding Cuba are subject to debate, and subject to differences. What I think, Mr. Speaker, there are no differences on, in this Congress, is that we are all for supporting those who seek democracy, who seek the benefits of freedom, and who see the welfare of their families associated with that freedom. I don't think there's a single Member who wasn't appalled by the way peaceful protestors in Cuba were brutally suppressed in July. I doubt there is anyone here who is not concerned that such actions will be repeated this month when the next protests are scheduled to occur.

“So this is a very timely resolution, because it anticipates that there will be another group of people who will have the courage to stand up, to speak up on behalf of freedom in their country. There was a resolution passed by the United States Senate on August 3, 2021. Although it doesn't exactly mirror our resolution, frankly our resolution is somewhat less specific in terms of criticism, in terms of policy.

“Why? Because we wanted this to be about human rights, we wanted it to be about people who stand up for freedom. We wanted it to be another statement [in line with] the thousands [of other statements] that we have made in [support of human rights in] countries throughout this globe [that suffer under leaders] who suppress the rights of people, who imprison people because they try to express their views.

"But this resolution that was passed in the Senate was sponsored by my counterpart, the Majority Whip, Mr. Durbin, by Mr. Kaine from Virginia, Mr. Schatz from Hawaii, Mr. Coons from Delaware, Mr. Booker from New Jersey, Ms. Cortez-Masto from Nevada, Mr. Brown from Ohio, Mr. Padilla from California, Mr. Warner from Virginia, Mr. Cardin from my own state of Maryland, Ms. Rosen from Nevada, Mr. Warnock from Georgia, Mr. Lujan from New Mexico, our former Chair of the Campaign Committee, Ms. Hassan from New Hampshire. My point is that this, along with many Republicans, it was unanimous consent, so everybody was for it.

“The vote we take on this resolution is a simple one. The text of the resolution is clear. It states that this House, all of us, stands in solidarity with Cubans seeking to express themselves and seek a redress of their grievances from their leaders. It affirms that the Cuban people ought to be able to enjoy the same access to information and the internet as Americans and other free people do around the world, and it urges the Biden Administration to promote freedom, human rights, and access to basic needs in Cuba. I believe that these are goals we can support overwhelmingly.

“I know that some Members believe that the text of this resolution does not include items on policy that they would like to have. I certainly think that is the legitimate concern, and there is no reason why we cannot have resolutions that speak to that, but this is singularly focused on the rights of people. John Kennedy said ‘we will bear any burden and defend any peoples who essentially seek freedom’. That's what this resolution does, simple, straightforward.

“I have supported many of these policies as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, the Helsinki Commission, where resolution after resolution said to Soviet satellites, signature demanded that they observe the human rights of those folks. This is a similar resolution. I hope all Members would share my view that a strong, bipartisan, and united vote by this House will send a message to the people of Cuba that they are not alone, that the American people stand with those who speak out in peaceful protests, that Democrats and Republicans stand together in support of the freedoms they seek.

“So, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution and I hope that the valid concerns and differences Members have on both sides of the aisle when it comes to Cuba will not preclude us from agreeing that we ought to stand in solidarity with those who are seeking the same rights that we enjoy in this extraordinary country in which we live. That's why I will be voting an enthusiastic and strong yes on this resolution and I yield back.”