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Menendez, Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Honoring Las Damas de Blanco

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bipartisan resolution (S.Res.81) honoring Las Damas de Blanco, a women-led peaceful nonviolent movement that supports freedom and human rights in Cuba and actively urges the release of all political prisoners in Cuba. These courageous women, who offer a voice to Cuba’s voiceless, gather and march peacefully through the streets of Havana with gladiolus flowers in hand, defying the dictatorship’s constant attacks on their nonviolent exercise of freedom of speech and assembly. 

Senators Menendez and Rubio were joined by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in introducing this bipartisan resolution. 

“At a moment of renewed civic activism in Cuba, this resolution stands in solidarity with all Cubans who seek democratic change in their country and recognizes the historic efforts of the Damas de Blanco to defend human rights. In the face of relentless persecution, wrongful imprisonment, and state-sanctioned violence, the unflinching commitment of the Damas de Blanco to the cause of democracy in Cuba is nothing short of heroic,” said Senator Menendez. “As Cuba’s citizens are increasingly raising their voices against the lack of basic freedoms and social justice on the island, this bipartisan resolution reaffirms our commitment to make the Cuban people’s aspirations a central element of our policy towards Havana.” 

“As we observe Women's History Month, I am proud to once again lead this bipartisan resolution honoring the legacy of Las Damas de Blanco, Senator Rubio said. “Living under the Castro and Díaz-Canel repressive apparatus, these brave women have led one of Cuba’s most important peaceful civic movements. As we continue to witness the despotic nature of this criminal regime, we must continue to raise the voices of the island’s dissidents. As a Cuban-American, I remain committed to echoing the Damas de Blanco’s demands for basic freedoms and true justice.”     

“This bipartisan resolution signals the unwavering and continuing support of the American people for the Ladies in White, who march peacefully to fight against the continuing injustices of communism and the Cuban regime,” Senator Cruz said. “I am proud to stand with them, and to continue to work to hold accountable those in the regime who use murder and torture to deny the people of Cuba the freedom they deserve.”

“I’m honored to join my colleagues today to re-introduce the Damas de Blanco Resolution to recognize the courageous women who have stood up against the oppressive Castro regime for almost two decades,” Senator Scott said. These women are an inspiration to everyone fighting for human rights, freedom and democracy. The U.S. will continue to support them and all who oppose communist tyrants in Cuba, Venezuela and around the world.”

“For years, Las Damas de Blanco, also known as the Ladies in White, have tirelessly voiced their desire for the Cuban government to grant more freedoms not only for their loved ones who have been wrongfully detained, but also for Cubans across the island,” Senator Cardin said. “I am proud to support this bipartisan resolution. The United States applauds their bravery and stands in solidarity with those who advocate for human rights in Cuba.”

Senator Rubio is the Ranking Member and Senator Cardin is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.