US congressmen consider that the protests in Cuba are "the beginning" of a change: "Society woke up."
The Western Hemisphere, Civil Security, Migration and International Economic Policy subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives debated the embargo and sanctions against Cuban officials due to the regime's repression of recent opposition demonstrations on the island.
The people of Cuba "are fed up." US lawmakers said Tuesday at a congressional hearing the recent protests in that country signal the "beginning" of a change that may lead to the end of the dictatorship.
At a hearing in the lower house's Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on Civil Security, Migration and International Economic Policy, the two activists disagreed on lifting US sanctions against Cuban officials.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee, legislator Albio Sires, highlighted the fact that "thousands of Cubans" have "taken to the streets demanding freedom and democracy" in the protests on the 11th. "What we have seen is nothing less than a start, "said the New Jersey Democrat.
"The people who have joined the protests have put their lives on the line, and we must not forget how powerful this is," added Sires. The latter, at 11 years old, emigrated from Cuba with his family.
Republican Tennessee spokesman Mark Green said Cuba was "disgusted" by the atrocities and had taken to the streets to demand an end to communism.
Anti-government sentiment has risen in the country, and demonstrations show civil society awareness," he added. "A new generation is emerging that wants to live in freedom. You see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the Cuban people have never been so close to it. "
Sires and Green confirmed that the Cuban government uses technology provided by China to interfere with or disrupt communications and citizens' access to the internet and social networks.
José Miguel Vivanco, director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, said at the hearing that since July 11, "thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets throughout the country and the government reacted with brutal repression."
"Human rights groups report that some 500 people have been arrested," he added.
The reports cited police beatings, multiple arrests of workers, unusual arrests, and other unidentified individuals.
"Cuba is changing," Vivanco added. (President Joe) Biden's government wants to take steps to abandon the policy of sanctions and isolation, which has not improved the situation in Cuba.
The United States has maintained a unilateral embargo against Cuba since 1960, which has used the Cuban government as an excuse for its mistakes and abuses and has garnered international sympathy," Vivanco said.
In disagreement was the director of Cuba Decide, Rosa María Payá, who asked that the US government not reverse the heavy-handed policy against the island. "The lifting of the (US) sanctions would be a mistake," said Payá. "The United States should take action to break the control that the regime has over communications."
"The United States should invite the European Union and the Organization of American States to take similar measures, and should use all the tools to face a threat posed by the regime," said Payá.
The Cuban regime, Paya added, "should be excluded from the Summit of the Americas" scheduled for this year, "and all options within international law should be considered."