The jailing of political prisoners, the killing 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 hotspot for despotic authoritarianism. To reassert America’s leadership in the hemisphere — and to push to preserve and expand the values of freedom and democracy — I introduced the Combatting Communism Act to establish a special envoy within the Department of State to combat communism and authoritarianism around the world. 

The legislation takes an important step in retooling American foreign policy to counter communist and authoritarian governments around the world, creating a bridge between the United States and all the freedom-fighting people currently stuck in oppressive, communist, and authoritarian governments. 

The Special Envoy will be instrumental in building out civil society support within oppressive governments, supporting pro-democracy protestors, advancing pro-freedom causes, fighting for important issues such as providing internet inside the island of Cuba, and strengthening the political institutions tasked with protecting free and open political debate. These tasks include: 

  • Providing direct support for protestors and dissidents who organize against authoritative and oppressive governments, 
  • Working with non-governmental organizations and international groups to support civil society support within authoritative states, 
  • Liaise between the federal government and government opposition groups within countries that don’t have U.S. embassies such as Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela, 
  • Elevate awareness of the pro-freedom and pro-democracy causes to international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, 
  • Serve as an advisor to the president to work directly on combatting communism and authoritarianism across the world. 

As communist and authoritarian forces begin to fortify around the world, now is time for the United States to reaffirm its commitment to combatting communism and authoritarianism head on. As the leader of the free world, we must continue to stand up for the universal values of freedom, liberty, democracy, and peace. By retooling our foreign policy, we are sending a strong signal to the world that there is no room for oppressive governments who violate basic human rights, who stifle the free expression of its people, who undermine democratic elections and institutions, and who unravel its people’s economic rights. Communism kills. Authoritarianism kills. Freedom and liberty must prevail. 

Together, we will continue to press forward in Congress to ensure the State Department takes this task head on. 

The district I represent, beginning in Miami and extending throughout the Florida Keys, is truly a community enriched by people from all walks of life who came to America in search of freedom. When you come down to South Florida, you really get to learn that the yearning for freedom, for democracy, for peace, for prosperity is universal – independent of your race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. It’s on these very ideals on which America – the most incredible, abundant, and free country in the world – was founded, and why so many have fled here. 

We know from our own personal experiences the perils of communism and authoritarianism. Me personally, I know firsthand the American dream many of those who have fled communism and authoritarianism as I fled Cuba to America with my family when I was just a young boy in pursuit of freedom from the Castro dictatorship. In just one generation, my family went from Cuba to Congress. Only in a free, fair, and democratic country could that ever be achieved. It’s time for us to ensure that every person in every corner of the globe has a fair and equal shot to freedom, to democracy, to peace, and to prosperity. 

Carlos Gimenez represents Florida’s 26th District. 

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