Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ben Cardin (D-Md), and Rick Scott (R-Fla), ahead of the commemoration of International Women’s Day, introduced a resolution (S. Res 531) honoring Las Damas de Blanco, a women-led peaceful nonviolent movement in support of freedom and human rights in Cuba, and calling for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba. These courageous women gather and march every Sunday in the streets of Havana carrying a picture of their loved ones, who are political prisoners, in one hand and a white gladiolus in the other.
“For nearly 17 years, Las Damas de Blanco have marched peacefully through the streets of Havana calling for freedom and the release of all political prisoners,” Menendez said. “With this resolution, we honor these women for their enduring commitment to human rights in Cuba, and for their bravery and resilience in the face of harassment, imprisonment, and violent attacks. As we commemorate International Women’s Day this week, we stand in unwavering solidarity with the Damas de Blanco and continue to champion their cause.”
“Las Damas de Blanco have consistently faced brutal repression and arbitrary arrests by the Castro and Díaz-Canel dictatorship,” Rubio said. “These brave women, recipients of multiple awards, personify the courage of those who speak for the voiceless on the island and who tirelessly advocate for a free and democratic Cuba. As a Cuban American, I am proud to honor and recognize Las Damas de Blanco by introducing this bipartisan resolution.”
“For nearly two decades, 'las Damas de Blanco' have bravely marched through the streets of Cuba wearing all white to protest the injustices their loved ones have endured,” Cruz said. “In the face of oppression, these women are a beacon of light for freedom-loving Cubans. As the son of a Cuban immigrant, I am proud to join Senator Rubio and my colleagues in introducing this resolution to recognize las Damas de Blanco and express the United States’ unwavering support for all those fighting for freedom in Cuba.”
“The silent marches of Las Damas de Blanco ring loud and clear that the people of Cuba deserve freedom and an end to the human rights abuses of their own government”, Cardin said, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues. “The way a nation treats its women is indicative of whether that country succeeds or fails, and the abuses endured by Las Damas de Blanco for nearly two decades are telling. I am proud to support these women who are tirelessly working to achieve more freedoms not just for their loved ones, but for all of Cuba.”
“The Ladies in White have stood up against the oppressive Cuban regime for almost two decades and serve as a bastion for human rights in the face of communist tyrants,” Scott said. Their example inspires countless Cuban-Americans living in Florida, and they deserve our unyielding support as we continue to fight for freedom and democracy around the world.”
The full text of the Senator’s resolution can be found here.