Legislation /

Rick Scott, Byron Donalds Reintroduce DEMOCRACIA Act

The Bill Provides For Asset And Visa-Blocking Sanctions For Conduct Relating To Cuba And Establishes An Interagency Task Force To Facilitate Access To Uncensored Internet In Cuba 

Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida have reintroduced the Denying Earnings to the Military Oligarchy in Cuba and Restricting Activities of the Cuban Intelligence Apparatus (DEMOCRACIA) Act, which enacts sanctions and “unprecedented financial pressure” against Cuba.

The Florida legislators originally introduced the bicameral bill in October 2021. They sought to “[hold] the communist Cuban regime accountable for their human rights violations through several secondary sanctions and financial constraints.”

The bill provides for asset and visa-blocking sanctions over conduct relating to Cuba, along with establishing an interagency task force to facilitate access to uncensored internet in Cuba.

“The President must sanction foreign persons that provide financial support to Cuban government sectors involved in human rights abuses or terrorism,” reads a summary of the bill noting foreign persons included military contractors or mercenaries operating on behalf of the Cuban government or violate laws restricting trade with the country.

“The President must also sanction “foreign persons complicit or engaged in human rights abuses or corruption, … supporting such conduct, … and specified Cuban government officials and their affiliates.”

Exceptions to sanctions include remittance to immediate family members and payments related to U.S. military and diplomatic sites, along with humanitarian efforts such as donating food or agricultural commodities to organizations or individuals unaffiliated with the Cuban government.

“The president may waive the sanctions in the interest of U.S. national security,” the bill continues noting termination of sanctions requires Presidential certification that the Cuban government has “legalized all political activities” and moved towards “[promoting] political rights and freedoms.”

Following Presidential approval, Congress must enact a joint resolution approving the termination of sanctions.

“Cuba has been the root of instability in Latin America and a constant threat to the national security of the United States,” wrote Scott. “The illegitimate, communist Castro/Diaz-Canel regime harbors terrorist groups, has eliminated free and fair elections, threatens and arbitrarily arrests critics, journalists and political activists, and props up other ruthless dictators, like Maduro in Venezuela and Ortega in Nicaragua while providing a foothold in Latin American for Russia, Iran and Communist China to spread their influence.”

As the Cuban people’s fight for freedom from the oppressive and illegitimate communist Cuban regime continues, the United States must stand with the Cuban people. … We know that a free and prosperous Cuba would liberate the Cuban people and eliminate the source of socialist cancer in our Hemisphere. … The bill makes clear that the United States will not sit on the sidelines during this critical fight. It’s time for President Biden to stop his failed appeasement and punish the communist regime for its crimes.

“For six decades, the Cuban people have faced unimaginable horrors that have denied their fundamental human rights, subjected them to imprisonment and abuse, and limited the prosperity of millions,” Donalds said of the bill. “This legislation targets the worst abusers in the authoritarian government accountable are their egregious human rights violations against democracy activists and reaffirms our commitment to freedom, liberty, and justice. The Cuban people need and deserve the full support of the United States in their relentless and righteous fight for liberation from the Communist Cuban regime.”

Other lawmakers cosponsoring the bill include fellow Florida legislator Senator Marco Rubio, representatives María Elvira Salazar and Mario Díaz-Balart, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and Kansas Senator Roger Marshall.


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