The Cuban Dismissal Crisis
The Cuban Dismissal Crisis
July 16, 2021
It took five days, but the White House has apparently had enough time to consider the question and agrees that yes, communism is a failed system. Even that admission was like pulling teeth from this president, who's been surprisingly muted in his response to the Cuban protests. But even his slow reaction was better than the outrageous responses from others on America's Left, who've decided the real villain in this crisis isn't the brutal regime -- but America!
Black Lives Matter, which is finally ending this ruse that they're anything but Marxist radicals, released a blistering statement blaming the United States for every cruel and inhumane thing that's happened to the Cubans over the last 62 years of oppressive rule. "Since 1962," the group claims, "the United States has forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine, and supplies costing the tiny island nation an estimated $130 billion." In their long missive, they accused America of causing instability, called the embargo "absurdly cruel" and said that our foreign policy in the region is essentially "worse than embarrassing." Naturally, they never thought to point the finger at the real culprit of Cuba's misery: communism.
It's the totalitarian stranglehold that's forced people to live without adequate food, medicine, humanitarian aid, information, and most importantly, freedom. And yet, leaders of Black Lives Matter, from their luxury mansions in the U.S., blast the prosperity and open environment they enjoy -- and Cubans long for. "Rest in power, Fidel Castro," the group tweeted, while thousands of Cubans were spilling out into the streets waving American flags. Look, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, if these people love communism so much, "My office stands ready to help the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization emigrate to Cuba." Senators like Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wasted no time calling the group on the carpet. "Shameful," Cruz fumed. "As millions of Cubans risk their lives to rise up for freedom, BLM stands with... the communist dictatorship."
Democrats, completely undeterred by the election lessons of 2020 -- when Cuban-Americans flocked to the GOP in Florida races, especially -- cozied right up to BLM's messaging. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) didn't even try to hide her anti-American disgust, echoing the ridiculous refrain that the U.S. has somehow locked these people into the desperate situation they're in. "We must also name the U.S. contribution to Cuban suffering," she insisted, calling for Biden to lift the embargo. Others, like MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell and CBS News can't seem to break their years-long habit of blaming everything on Donald Trump -- sounding more like Cuba's Miguel Díaz-Canel than American journalists.
Meanwhile, 90 miles away from our shores, the Cuban regime did seem to give a little, easing the internet blackout slightly and giving the green light for travelers to bring food, medicine, and hygiene necessities into the country. That's small consolation for the country, who still can't account for hundreds of protestors who've gone missing since the massive demonstrations started. As many as 5,000 others have been arrested -- including 120 reporters. Still, the Cubans are not sorry. "So much hunger ate away at our fear," one woman said. Left without food, jobs, water, and power, it didn't matter how dangerous it was to protest. The situation, made even more explosive by 62 long years of oppression, was a powder keg. "Once people lose their fear," NRO's Jay Nordlinger pointed out, "a dictatorship is in trouble. It is the dictatorship, then, that has to fear."
When Fidel Castro died, people wondered if the dictatorship would survive, he explained. "The Chinese dictatorship survived the death of Mao, unfortunately. The Soviet dictatorship survived the death of Lenin. Will the North Korean dictatorship outlast the Kims (of whom there have been three, since 1948)?" The answer is the same as Cuba's: no one knows.
But even in that uncertainty, there are lessons to be learned. And the first, Rubio argues, is that Marxism and socialism don't work. It divides the people, pits them against each other, and then moves in to oppress. "Socialism and Marxism have done in Cuba what it has done everywhere in the world that it's been tried. It has failed. They gave up their freedom, or they were told, 'Give up your freedom in exchange for a world-class health care system.' It's not a world-class health care system. In fact, it's a health care system that does not even have the ability to deal with COVID at its very basic level." Then the Cuban government said, "Give up your freedom for economic security." "What economic security?" Rubio wanted to know. "People are hungry; homes are crumbling. There is no economy."
So what can we do? As a nation, Rubio urges, we need to be clear about whose side we're on: the people's. "We don't just condemn this tyranny, we condemn this communism, this Marxist, this socialist tyranny. Call it for what it is." We also need to make it clear that our policy isn't going to change, including the sanctions. "I hope the Biden administration will now announce they have finished their review of Cuba policy and everything that's in place will stay in place." It's also time for the international community to engage. "They should speak out clearly that what's happening there is wrong, that repression is wrong."
And finally, and most importantly, we need to pray. Cuba is an hour away from America, and yet people are living in conditions that are worlds away from the freedom and prosperity we enjoy. "We have hope that we can have justice. We have hope that the U.S. will intervene so that our people can finally be free," one of the protestors said. But right now, Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat admitted, "Prayer is our only armor." Join FRC in lifting up Cuba -- and all of the nations of the world who are hungering for liberty, opportunity, and safety for their families.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
House Dems Leave Taxpayers Hyde and Dry
July 16, 2021
The year was 1993. Republicans and Democrats flocked to the House floor, one right after another. The debate was eerily similar to the one some members of Congress had Thursday: should taxpayers be forced to pay for abortions? President Bill Clinton watched the fireworks from a couple of miles away from the White House, where he'd started this whole argument. For the first time in 17 years, he'd presented a budget with zero abortion restrictions, plunging Congress (and the country) into a furious debate that -- until this week -- had been a non-negotiable truce.
"You're going to get a million more abortions," argued the late Congressman Henry Hyde, who the famous amendment is named for. "We're awash in a sea of blood." Then, as now, Democrats resorted to a line about discrimination, arguing that this is about fairness for poor women. Tempers, the New York Times reported that day, got hotter. When things finally quieted down a half-hour later, Democrats insisted on an exception for the "health of the mother," which Hyde blasted as amounting to "abortion on demand." At the end of the day, Clinton's party couldn't muster the votes it needed to do away with the longtime compromise.
That changed this Thursday. For the first time since 1993, the House advanced a bill that puts the price of killing innocent unborn children on the backs of unwilling taxpayers. After an intense five-hour debate, the Appropriations Committee, led by extremist Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), voted to strip the Hyde amendment from the bill -- a move so radical that it hasn't been done in decades. Republicans desperately tried to stop the Left -- with more than 24 of them lining up to speak out about the betrayal of the agreement that's been in place for 45 years. "This is a very passionate issue for so many of us," Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) said.
Right now, she pointed out:
"Americans are sitting around their kitchen tables right now worrying about paying their bills. They're worried about their jobs. They're worried about their loved ones, especially coming out of a devastating pandemic. They're worried about getting a spot in child care. They're worried about putting food on the table, keeping lights on, and making ends meet. Those are the real kitchen table conversations happening in Iowa and around the country. They're working hard for their paychecks and they hold strong convictions, much like most of us in this room. But what an absolute slap in the face to the millions of Americans who are working so hard and strongly oppose elective abortions to tell them, 'Hey, you know what, we know you're struggling, but we are going to fundamentally force you to do something you don't agree with. Send your taxpayer dollars here to Washington, and we're going to use them to pay for this horrible act that you oppose.' That's just wrong, and it's reprehensible. And I'm frankly ashamed that we are even having this fight today."
Others rose, delivering powerful and fiery speeches about the immoral decision Democrats are forcing on the country with this crusade. "Nothing in this amendment, in the Hyde language or in the Waldon language would prevent a woman from seeking an abortion," Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) argued. "Nothing. But most of the debate has been about a woman's right to have an abortion -- and whether that's health care or not. That's not the debate. The debate is: who has to pay for it? And whether someone that has religious objections to abortion should be required to perform one or participate in one. That's the only debate here [today], and it seems like there should be bipartisan support for that."
In the end, there was bipartisan support. Congressman Henry Cuellar from Texas rejected his party's extreme lurch and stood with Republicans for the unborn, the women, and the American people. But it wasn't enough. Joe Biden's party sent a bill to the full House floor that makes co-conspirators out of U.S. taxpayers for a bloody agenda they want no part of.
"If you think more money needs to be put into abortions, if you believe in abortion rights, you have every right to donate your money to organizations... that support abortion," Simpson argued. "You have every right to do that. What you don't have a moral right to do is to tell me [who] believes that abortion is morally wrong, to forcefully take money from my pocket to fund abortions. That is morally wrong... We've been told, 'Well, follow the science, just follow the science.' I am following the science and the science that matters to me is that every abortion ends in one dead person."
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), a doctor, watched the vote unfold with sadness -- like every other pro-lifer. "I think it's going to be up to the Senate," he warned on "Washington Watch," to put a stop to this. "It's going to be up to Mr. McConnell." Fortunately for Americans, the Senate Minority Leader is up for the fight. In a shot across the bow Thursday, he watched what unfolded in the House with absolute disgust and went to his own floor to shame it.
This newfound opposition to the Hyde amendment is "yet another way in which the [Biden] administration has sold itself as 'moderate and unifying' but 'is now spiraling way to the Left...' Since the 1970s, abortion has claimed the lives of more than 60 million unborn children. But at the very, very least, the mainstream bipartisan Hyde Amendment has ensured that taxpayers' hard-earned money is not funneled into this brutal practice in today's Democratic Party." Now, he shook his head, "There is no room to dissent from the far-Left in the culture war -- even in the most modest, most long-standing, most popular ways."
For now, FRC is proud of all the House Republicans who stood together in defense of innocent human life. For the first time in a long time, more Republicans spoke out for the unborn than Democrats did for abortion. They may not have won the vote, but they're winning the argument. And in the end, that's what will matter for this debate -- and our future.
To get involved, check out our action campaign at FRCAction.org/SaveHyde.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
'They Need Our Faith'
July 16, 2021
"Every time I want to keep my silence, I think of our life in China." These are the words of Grace Gao, the daughter of Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer who boldly defended house church leaders and Falun Gong practitioners. For his work, he and his entire family were targeted by the Chinese government. After years of suffering, Grace is speaking out -- for her family, and for all families and individuals enduring abuse for their advocacy.
In 2006, Gao Zhisheng was convicted of subversion and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was again imprisoned in December of 2011 for supposedly violating the conditions of his suspended three-year sentence. He was released from prison in 2014 but kept under house arrest until August of 2017. Since then, his exact whereabouts have been unknown, and no updates have been made available from the government. It's been four years since he has been in touch with his family, and since Grace has been able to see or hear from him.
This week, Grace shared her story at Family Research Council's event at the International Religious Freedom Summit entitled, "Sanctioned by China: Advocates Speak Out." This event highlighted the cost that speaking out can have both for those within China and outside of China. The Chinese government goes to great lengths to suppress the voices of those who dare to speak out about its violations of human rights and religious freedom. Grace knows this well.
Because of her father's human rights work, Chinese authorities were sent to closely monitor the entire family. Grace said, "They had a little notebooks. They took eight-hour shifts, three shifts a day." And they documented everything. "What time did I take a shower? How long did I take a shower?" Grace now lives in the United States with her mom and brother, but she still cries every time she thinks about living under those conditions.
Yet, Grace knows her family wasn't the only one, and many more families in China still suffer under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. "I think of more families suffering the same thing. I can't be silenced," she said.
Confronting the grave reality of her father's imprisonment -- which represents countless others in China who face abuse and persecution from the Chinese government -- isn't easy. Yet, Grace remains positive. She knows the difference that even one person can make. She said, "I think of myself as a firefly. I live in this very dark place. And then when there is no light, I believe I can light up a light in myself because I am a firefly."
Indeed, light shines brightest in the darkness. And that is Grace's challenge to the rest of us. As she closed out her interview, she encouraged the audience to do what they can: "I wish everybody always has hope in their mind and to pray as much as you can and to pray for as many people as you can. Because for a lot of people who are in jail, I think the only thing that keeps them alive -- it's that someone outside is caring about them, is still praying for them. It's important. We can't forget those people, even though we don't know those people. They need our faith."
People around the world -- even those we don't know -- are depending on our faith, on our prayer, and on our perseverance. Our simple acts have a great deal of power to comfort those who are hurting. May we remember that always.