Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) announced today that her FORCE Act passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Salazar, who is the Chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee announced that it had passed the committee’s markup process with bipartisan support.
Earlier this year, Salazar reintroduced H.R. 314, known as the Fighting Oppression until the Reign of Castro Ends Act (FORCE). At the time, if passed, the bill promised to “stop President Biden from normalizing relations with Cuba unless freedom and democracy are restored on the island” according to a press release from Salazar’s office. The bill also “prevents the Cuban communist regime from being removed from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List until they meet the requirements of Section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act.”
Section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act would require that Cuba comply with certain demands.
The demands include Cuba releasing all political prisoners and allowing investigations of Cuban prisons by appropriate international human rights organizations. Cuba would have to transition away from the current regime to a system that would guarantee the rights of the Cuban people to freely express themselves. Finally, Cuba would have to commit to hold free and fair elections.
The same conditions that the FORCE Act outlines are the same conditions that must be met for the United States to lift the embargo and all other accompanying sanctions, so Salazar argues that Cuba must comply with U.S. law.
When Salazar reintroduced the bill in January alongside Florida Reps. Carlos Gimenez (R), Mario Diaz-Balart (R) and other lawmakers, Salazar warned that “the totalitarian communist regime in Cuba is an ever-present national security threat to the United States.” “Aside from stealing the hopes and dreams of three generations of Cubans, the Castro regime continues to subsidize and provide financial and military support to bad actors across Latin America,” Salazar added.