Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the “Cuban Military Transparency Act,” bipartisan legislation that would ensure any increase in resources to Cuba reach the Cuban people by prohibiting financial transactions with the Castro regime’s military and security services.
The bill’s co-sponsors include: Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Cory Gardner (R-CO), David Vitter (R-LA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).
“It is not in the interest of the United States or the people of Cuba for the U.S. to become a financier of the Castro regime’s brutality,” said Rubio. “The Cuban Military Transparency Act would prevent U.S. dollars from getting into the hands of the Cuban military and would demand accountability from the Obama Administration regarding fugitives of American justice in Cuba, the return of stolen and uncompensated property and the role of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba.”
“U.S. policy should be guided by one, single principle – supporting the Cuban people’s aspirations for a democratic future,” Menendez said. “With the Cuban government and armed forces controlling more than 80 percent of the country’s economy, current efforts to expand commerce and travel to Cuba only enrich the Castros’ military monopolies. The Cuban military uses these funds to violate human rights and jail its opponents. This common sense legislation aims to ensure the American public is not a blind accomplice to the Castro regime’s repression.”
“The United States must stand squarely on the side of the Cuban people and take every possible action to weaken the brutal rule of the Castro regime,” said Cotton. “This bill is one such step. It denies the Castro security services hard currency and aims to hold the regime accountable for its past crimes and misdeeds.”
“The Obama administration has already sent terrible signals to Fidel and Raul Castro by relaxing economic sanctions on Cuba and removing their regime from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List,” Cruz said. “It is now beholden on Congress to intervene and ensure that this misguided policy does not result in our facilitating the Castros’ more than fifty years of aggressive hostility towards the United States and our allies. I commend Sen. Rubio for his work on the Cuban Military Transparency Act, and I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will prevent America from enabling Cuba’s odious security apparatus. Congress should send a clear directive to the President: We will stand with the Cuban people and promote freedom and prosperity, but we will not assist the Communist regime that has oppressed them for so long.”
“For over 50 years, the Castro dictatorship has brutally repressed the Cuban people,” said Gardner. “Despite President Obama’s historic change in policy this year, the Cuban authorities continue to jail dissidents and abuse the human rights of their citizens. This legislation would ensure that any economic benefit gained by Cuba from our policy shift does not finance the regime’s police state, but directly benefits the Cuban people.”
“The Castro’s regime of internal and external terror should never be funded with American money,” Kirk said. “The U.S. policy toward Cuba should always seek to hold the Castro regime fully accountable while supporting the Cuban people's internationally recognized human rights and aspirations for freedom.”
The “Cuban Military Transparency Act” would:
- Identify and prohibit financial transactions with the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the Ministry of the Interior, their sub-divisions and leadership;
- Amend the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program to include the arrest or conviction of the individuals responsible for the February 24th 1996 deadly attack on United States aircraft;
- Direct the Attorney General to coordinate with Interpol regarding the capture of U.S. fugitives in Cuba;
- Direct the President to provide reports on the role of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba and the return of property that has been confiscated by the Government of Cuba; and
- Provide exemptions for current “cash-in-advance” sale of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices and remittances to family members and transactions related to democracy promotion programs.