EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY WITH THE SAN ISIDRO MOVEMENT IN CUBA, CONDEMNING ESCALATED ATTACKS AGAINST ARTISTIC FREEDOMS IN CUBA, AND CALLING FOR THE REPEAL OF LAWS THAT VIOLATE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND...; Congressional Record Vol. 167, No. 65
(Senate - April 15, 2021)

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[Pages S1996-S1998]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY WITH THE SAN ISIDRO MOVEMENT IN CUBA, CONDEMNING 
 ESCALATED ATTACKS AGAINST ARTISTIC FREEDOMS IN CUBA, AND CALLING FOR 
THE REPEAL OF LAWS THAT VIOLATE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE IMMEDIATE 
  RELEASE OF ARBITRARILY DETAINED ARTISTS, JOURNALISTS, AND ACTIVISTS

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 24, S. Res. 37.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A resolution (S. Res. 37) expressing solidarity with the 
     San Isidro Movement in Cuba, condemning escalated attacks 
     against artistic freedoms in Cuba, and calling for the repeal 
     of laws that violate freedom of expression and the immediate 
     release of arbitrarily detained artists, journalists, and 
     activists.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the 
resolution, which had been reported from the Committee on Foreign 
Relations, with an

[[Page S1997]]

amendment to strike all after the resolving clause and insert the part 
printed in italic, and with an amendment to strike the preamble and 
insert the part printed in italic as follows
       Whereas artists, journalists, and activists in Cuba have 
     faced increased censorship, persecution, and arbitrary 
     detention by the Government of Cuba as a result of Decrees 
     349 and 370, which seek to restrict artistic freedoms and 
     silence independent media in Cuba;
       Whereas, in December 2018, Decree 349 entered into force, 
     requiring that artists and those who hire them receive prior 
     approval from the Government of Cuba to operate in public or 
     private spaces or otherwise be subject to confiscation of 
     materials, fines, or sanctions without the right to an 
     appeal;
       Whereas, in July 2019, Decree 370 entered into force, 
     regulating and imposing sanctions with respect to the free 
     distribution of information through the internet and leading 
     to increased repression, arbitrary detentions, and censorship 
     by the Government of Cuba;
       Whereas international human rights organizations, including 
     Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations 
     Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the 
     Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, have condemned 
     Decrees 349 and 370 as violating fundamental freedoms and 
     contradicting Article 54 of the 2019 Constitution of Cuba, 
     which guarantees freedom of expression;
       Whereas, in 2018, the San Isidro Movement (MSI), an 
     organization of artists, activists, academics, and 
     journalists, began to peacefully protest increased censorship 
     and persecution in Cuba;
       Whereas Denis Solis Gonzalez, a musician and member of the 
     San Isidro Movement, was detained on November 9, 2020, and 
     sentenced to 8 months in prison on ``contempt of authority'' 
     charges after sharing a live video online of a police officer 
     entering his home without a warrant;
       Whereas, on November 19, 2020, artists and activists from 
     the San Isidro Movement launched a day of poetry and gathered 
     at a private residence to discuss actions to protest the 
     arbitrary detention of Denis Solis Gonzalez, and during that 
     peaceful activity, state police blocked access to the house, 
     confiscating all food and humanitarian supplies;
       Whereas, in response to the events of November 19, 2020, 14 
     independent artists and activists went on a 7-day hunger 
     strike at the private residence, during which state 
     authorities allegedly contaminated water sources in order to 
     sicken the artists, activists, and those supporting them 
     through the strike;
       Whereas, on November 26, 2020, state security agents 
     forcibly entered the protest site to remove the 14 artists 
     and activists and 6 others supporting them through the 
     strike, blocking internet connectivity and communications 
     throughout Cuba during the raid;
       Whereas, on November 27, 2020, approximately 300 people 
     gathered outside the Ministry of Culture of Cuba to 
     peacefully protest the lack of artistic freedom in Cuba and 
     the arbitrary arrest of Denis Solis Gonzalez and other 
     artists and activists in an unprecedented demonstration 
     against the Government of Cuba, and, despite the use of tear 
     gas by state security forces, the protesters were undeterred;
       Whereas, as a result of the protest on November 27, 2020, 
     Cuban officials met with 30 artists and activists, including 
     5 leaders of the San Isidro Movement, and agreed to stop 
     harassment of Cuban artists and initiate a dialogue between 
     the San Isidro Movement, other activists, and the government;
       Whereas, despite that commitment by Cuban officials, the 
     Government of Cuba subsequently escalated its attacks against 
     the artists and activists who participated in the meeting, 
     including by surrounding and blocking access to their homes;
       Whereas the Cuban regime used state-controlled media to 
     label the hunger strikers as committing acts of terrorism;
       Whereas, on December 4, 2020, the Government of Cuba 
     unilaterally ended the dialogue process with Cuban artists 
     and independent civil society and political activists;
       Whereas, on January 27, 2021, officials of the Ministry of 
     Culture, led by Minister Alpidio Alonso and Vice Ministers 
     Fernando Rojas and Fernando Leon Jacomino, physically 
     assaulted a group of 20 to 30 artists who had gathered 
     outside the Ministry of Culture to restart a dialogue process 
     with authorities and demand an end to the repression of the 
     artistic community;
       Whereas, following the assault on the group by Minister 
     Alonso and Vice Ministers Rojas and Jacomino, Cuban state 
     security forces violently detained protesters; and
       Whereas, despite the suspension of the dialogue process by 
     the Government of Cuba, artists, activists, and independent 
     journalists continue to bravely advocate for fundamental 
     freedoms and denounce human rights violations in Cuba: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) expresses solidarity with the members of the San Isidro 
     Movement and their efforts to advance freedom of expression 
     in Cuba;
       (2) calls on Cuban authorities to engage in a meaningful 
     dialogue process with the members of the San Isidro Movement 
     and other artists and activists seeking to advance freedom of 
     expression in Cuba;
       (3) calls on the Government of Cuba to immediately release 
     Denis Solis Gonzalez and other arbitrarily imprisoned artists 
     and journalists;
       (4) urges the officials of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba 
     to refrain from physical violence and any other acts of 
     repression against Cuban artists and journalists;
       (5) calls for the immediate repeal of Decrees 349 and 370 
     and other laws in Cuba that violate freedom of expression;
       (6) urges governments and legislatures in Europe and Latin 
     America to renew their support for democratic activists in 
     Cuba and speak out against the repression of artists and 
     journalists in Cuba; and
       (7) encourages the Secretary of State to condemn the 
     persecution, threats, and intimidation of Cuban artists and 
     journalists.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I further ask that the committee-reported amendment to 
the resolution be considered agreed to; that the resolution, as 
amended, be agreed to; that the committee-report amendment to the 
preamble be agreed to; that the preamble, as amended, be agreed to; and 
that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the 
table with no intervening or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The committee-reported amendment in the nature of a substitute was 
agreed to.
  The resolution (S. Res. 37), as amended, was agreed to.
  The committee-reported amendment to the preamble in the nature of a 
substitute was agreed to.
  The preamble, as amended, was agreed to.
  The resolution, as amended, with its preamble, as amended, reads as 
follows:

                               S. Res. 37

       Whereas artists, journalists, and activists in Cuba have 
     faced increased censorship, persecution, and arbitrary 
     detention by the Government of Cuba as a result of Decrees 
     349 and 370, which seek to restrict artistic freedoms and 
     silence independent media in Cuba;
       Whereas, in December 2018, Decree 349 entered into force, 
     requiring that artists and those who hire them receive prior 
     approval from the Government of Cuba to operate in public or 
     private spaces or otherwise be subject to confiscation of 
     materials, fines, or sanctions without the right to an 
     appeal;
       Whereas, in July 2019, Decree 370 entered into force, 
     regulating and imposing sanctions with respect to the free 
     distribution of information through the internet and leading 
     to increased repression, arbitrary detentions, and censorship 
     by the Government of Cuba;
       Whereas international human rights organizations, including 
     Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations 
     Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the 
     Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, have condemned 
     Decrees 349 and 370 as violating fundamental freedoms and 
     contradicting Article 54 of the 2019 Constitution of Cuba, 
     which guarantees freedom of expression;
       Whereas, in 2018, the San Isidro Movement (MSI), an 
     organization of artists, activists, academics, and 
     journalists, began to peacefully protest increased censorship 
     and persecution in Cuba;
       Whereas Denis Solis Gonzalez, a musician and member of the 
     San Isidro Movement, was detained on November 9, 2020, and 
     sentenced to 8 months in prison on ``contempt of authority'' 
     charges after sharing a live video online of a police officer 
     entering his home without a warrant;
       Whereas, on November 19, 2020, artists and activists from 
     the San Isidro Movement launched a day of poetry and gathered 
     at a private residence to discuss actions to protest the 
     arbitrary detention of Denis Solis Gonzalez, and during that 
     peaceful activity, state police blocked access to the house, 
     confiscating all food and humanitarian supplies;
       Whereas, in response to the events of November 19, 2020, 14 
     independent artists and activists went on a 7-day hunger 
     strike at the private residence, during which state 
     authorities allegedly contaminated water sources in order to 
     sicken the artists, activists, and those supporting them 
     through the strike;
       Whereas, on November 26, 2020, state security agents 
     forcibly entered the protest site to remove the 14 artists 
     and activists and 6 others supporting them through the 
     strike, blocking internet connectivity and communications 
     throughout Cuba during the raid;
       Whereas, on November 27, 2020, approximately 300 people 
     gathered outside the Ministry of Culture of Cuba to 
     peacefully protest the lack of artistic freedom in Cuba and 
     the arbitrary arrest of Denis Solis Gonzalez and other 
     artists and activists in an unprecedented demonstration 
     against the Government of Cuba, and, despite the use of tear 
     gas by state security forces, the protesters were undeterred;
       Whereas, as a result of the protest on November 27, 2020, 
     Cuban officials met with 30 artists and activists, including 
     5 leaders of the San Isidro Movement, and agreed to stop 
     harassment of Cuban artists and initiate a dialogue between 
     the San Isidro Movement, other activists, and the government;
       Whereas, despite that commitment by Cuban officials, the 
     Government of Cuba subsequently escalated its attacks against 
     the artists and activists who participated in the meeting, 
     including by surrounding and blocking access to their homes;
       Whereas the Cuban regime used state-controlled media to 
     label the hunger strikers as committing acts of terrorism;
       Whereas, on December 4, 2020, the Government of Cuba 
     unilaterally ended the dialogue process with Cuban artists 
     and independent civil society and political activists;

[[Page S1998]]

       Whereas, on January 27, 2021, officials of the Ministry of 
     Culture, led by Minister Alpidio Alonso and Vice Ministers 
     Fernando Rojas and Fernando Leon Jacomino, physically 
     assaulted a group of 20 to 30 artists who had gathered 
     outside the Ministry of Culture to restart a dialogue process 
     with authorities and demand an end to the repression of the 
     artistic community;
       Whereas, following the assault on the group by Minister 
     Alonso and Vice Ministers Rojas and Jacomino, Cuban state 
     security forces violently detained protesters; and
       Whereas, despite the suspension of the dialogue process by 
     the Government of Cuba, artists, activists, and independent 
     journalists continue to bravely advocate for fundamental 
     freedoms and denounce human rights violations in Cuba: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) expresses solidarity with the members of the San Isidro 
     Movement and their efforts to advance freedom of expression 
     in Cuba;
       (2) calls on Cuban authorities to engage in a meaningful 
     dialogue process with the members of the San Isidro Movement 
     and other artists and activists seeking to advance freedom of 
     expression in Cuba;
       (3) calls on the Government of Cuba to immediately release 
     Denis Solis Gonzalez and other arbitrarily imprisoned artists 
     and journalists;
       (4) urges the officials of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba 
     to refrain from physical violence and any other acts of 
     repression against Cuban artists and journalists;
       (5) calls for the immediate repeal of Decrees 349 and 370 
     and other laws in Cuba that violate freedom of expression;
       (6) urges governments and legislatures in Europe and Latin 
     America to renew their support for democratic activists in 
     Cuba and speak out against the repression of artists and 
     journalists in Cuba; and
       (7) encourages the Secretary of State to condemn the 
     persecution, threats, and intimidation of Cuban artists and 
     journalists.

                          ____________________