The imprisonment of political prisoners, the murder of human rights activists and the persecution of journalists have become a regular scene throughout the region. The sad reality is that Latin America has become the hot spot of despotic authoritarianism. To reaffirm America’s leadership in the hemisphere—and to push to preserve and expand the values of freedom and democracy—I introduced the Anti-Communism Act to establish a special envoy in the Department of state to fight communism and authoritarianism in the world.
The legislation takes an important step in the reorganization of American foreign policy to counter communist and authoritarian governments around the world, creating a bridge between the United States and all freedom fighters currently stuck in oppressive, communist and authoritarian governments. .
The Special Envoy will be instrumental in building civil society support within oppressive governments, supporting pro-democracy protesters, advancing freedom causes, fighting for important issues such as providing internet within the island of Cuba and strengthening the political institutions responsible for protecting free and open political debate. These tasks include:
- Provide direct support to protesters and dissidents who organize against authoritarian and oppressive governments,
- Work with non-governmental organizations and international groups to support civil society support within authoritative states,
- Liaise between the federal government and government opposition groups in countries that do not have U.S. embassies such as Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela,
- Raise awareness in international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States on pro-freedom and pro-democracy causes,
- Serve as an advisor to the President to work directly in the fight against communism and authoritarianism throughout the world.
As communist and authoritarian forces begin to strengthen around the world, now is the time for the United States to reaffirm its commitment to fighting communism and authoritarianism head-on. As a leader of the free world, we must continue to uphold the universal values of liberty, freedom, democracy and peace. By revamping our foreign policy, we are sending a strong signal to the world that there is no place for oppressive governments that violate basic human rights, that stifle the free expression of its people, that undermine elections and democratic institutions that destroy economic rights. Communism kills. Authoritarianism kills. Freedom and freedom must prevail.
Together, we will continue to press Congress to ensure that the State Department takes on this task head-on.
The neighborhood I represent, beginning in Miami and stretching across the Florida Keys, is truly a community enriched by people from all walks of life who have come to America seeking freedom. When you come down to South Florida, you truly learn that the yearning for freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity is universal – regardless of your race, gender, ethnicity, your nationality or religion. It is on these same ideals that America – the most amazing, bountiful and freest country in the world – was founded on, and why so many people have fled here.
We know from our own personal experiences the dangers of communism and authoritarianism. Me personally, I know firsthand the American dream of many who fled communism and authoritarianism as I fled Cuba to America with my family as a young boy in search of freedom from the Castro dictatorship. In a single generation, my family went from Cuba to Congress. Only in a free, fair and democratic country can this be achieved. It is time for us to ensure that every person in every corner of the globe has a fair and equal chance at freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity.
Carlos Gimenez represents Florida’s 26th district.