Five members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation co-signed a letter from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) this week urging the world’s democracies to support freedom in Cuba. 

Representatives Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-1), Tim Burchett (R-TN-2), John Rose (R-TN-6), Mark Green (R-TN-7) and David Kustoff (R-TN-8) joined the Republican leader and other colleagues in exhorting democratic nations to back a number of steps toward effectuating Cuban democracy.

“In the streets of Cuba, the people are bravely marching for a new day of freedom and demanding an end to the illegitimate, brutal Cuban dictatorship,” the letter read. “After more than six decades of brutally oppressive rule, the Cuban people are risking their lives to loudly denounce the disastrous communist regime that has time and time again failed to promote and protect the general welfare of its citizens. The people are shouting ‘libertad,’ and demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. As the Cuban people risk their lives for freedom, the world must stand with them in this critically important moment.”

Specifically, the congresspersons call for explicit denunciation of Cuban rule under Raúl Castro, with whom they assert all diplomatic relations should be ended. They insist restoration of normal diplomacy should only resume upon free and secure elections that take place under international oversight.

The representatives call for coordinated assistance to pro-democracy forces within Cuba and for an end to all financial support to the current Cuban regime. Formerly communist nations such as Poland and the Czech Republic were called upon especially to provide expertise in transitioning away from despotism toward democracy and free-enterprise. 

The representatives’ letter decries efforts by Castro’s communist government to crack down on pro-freedom activists, citing multiple human-rights abuses, including the apprehensions of Afro-Cuban activist Berta Soler, opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer and Ferrer’s 18-year-old son. While Soler and the younger Ferrer have been released, José remains imprisoned. Berta is meanwhile unable to leave her home which Cuban security forces have surrounded.

– – –

Bradley Vasoli is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to bradvasoliwriter@gmail.com.