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Readout from Chairman Menendez on Meeting with President Biden, Cuban Leaders about the Island’s Pro-Democracy Movement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined President Biden in the White House for a meeting with a group of Cuban American leaders. They discussed the ongoing situation in Cuba and the actions the Administration has taken in support of the historic pro-democracy movement on the island as it demands respect for basic human rights and the end of the dictatorship in Cuba. During the meeting, the President also detailed a number of additional actions his Administration announced today to bolster the pro-democracy movement on the island and ensure the Cuban people protesting against the repressive regime have the necessary tools in their ongoing efforts.

“I greatly appreciate President Biden’s continued willingness to seek my counsel and that of the people on and off the island who are promoting democracy and human rights in Cuba. This was a powerful, productive and historic moment for the Cuban people and the greater Cuban American community as we work towards a free and democratic Cuba. Cuban American leaders and advocates had an opportunity to engage directly with the President in a meaningful conversation about his Administration’s efforts to advance democratic change and hold the communist Cuban regime accountable for the brutality it has perpetrated against its own people.

“As we discussed at today’s meeting, the Díaz Canel regime’s continued censorship, jailing, and disappearances of the Cuban people have been instrumental in demonstrating to the world that it is the regime – and not the United States – that is acting in bad faith, and it is the regime – through its campaign of violence– that has helped galvanize the growing international condemnation of repression on the island. Cubans around the world should feel encouraged knowing the leader of the free world is listening to us and that he fully agrees that the Cuban people should be able to freely decide what course their nation will take.

“Following today’s announcement of additional sanctions, support for Cuban activists, and efforts to provide uncensored internet access in Cuba,  I will keep exploring new ideas and new ways to continue working with the Biden administration to support the people of Cuba and hold the regime accountable for its repressive crackdown. We cannot, we must not, and we will not legitimize the behavior of a weak and fearful regime, nor strengthen its ability to continue perpetrating crimes against its own people.”