Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations unanimously approved on Wednesday a resolution condemning the Cuban dictatorship’s “violent response” to the massive anti-government protests that took place on the island on July 11.
The resolution is significant because it has received support from members of the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as members of both houses of Congress.
Among the promoters of the measure are two senators of Cuban origin: Democrat Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the highest ranking Latino in Congress, as well as Republican Marco Rubio, representative of Florida, where a large part of the Cuban exile community resides.
“I am very proud to lead this effort to make it clear Democrats and Republicans are united in saying we will not overlook, romanticize or try to explain away the Cuban regime’s brutal oppression of simple human and democratic rights, or its total disdain for the aspirations of its own people,” Menendez said.
Shortly after the approval of the resolution, Menendez, one of the most influential senators in Cuba policy, gave a speech on the Senate floor on Washington’s Cuba policy and questioned the current position of Spain, Canada and the European Union (EU).
Specifically, he criticized that Spain, Canada and the EU did not participate in a joint statement issued two days ago by 21 countries, including the United States, Colombia, Guatemala, to condemn the arrests in Cuba and demand respect for human rights on the island.
“Does Spain care more about their hotel investments than the human rights of the Cuban people? Do they care more about business on the island than the freedom and democracy of the oppressed people?” questioned Menendez, who also addressed Canada saying, “Does Canada place greater importance on their mining investments than on fundamental freedoms?”
“I hope not,” he replied to himself, “These universal principles should unite us all.
Resolutions, such as the one passed today on Cuba, serve as a way for Congress to express its opinion on an issue, but they do not compel any concrete action.