This week, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., helped launch a congressional caucus to honor victims of communist regimes and protect dissidents who continue to fight against communism.
Ross, part of the House leadership as senior deputy majority whip, joined with U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, to form the
Victims of Communism Caucus on Tuesday.
“The Victims of Communism Caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress dedicated to raising awareness of how communism victimized and enslaved more than 100 million people in the past and how its tyranny in the five existing communist countries (China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam) and its legacy in the post-Soviet sphere shapes international relations today,” Ross’ office noted. “During the upcoming session, the Victims of Communism Caucus will focus on several issues, including Russian expansionism in Ukraine; the role of the United States in ameliorating the deteriorating political and economic situation in Venezuela; the continuing human rights abuses of the Castro regime in Cuba; and the increasing threat that the dangerous North Korean rhetoric surrounding the country’s nuclear program poses to the free world.”
Ross explained why he had helped form the new caucus.
“We should not be lulled into thinking that communism is no longer a threat to freedom in the world, given that many people still toil under its hateful, totalitarian rule,” Ross said. “Our caucus will ensure that we do not forget those victims who were forced to choose between their faith and the cruelty of a dictatorship. We must hold fast to the virtues of freedom.”
“I look forward to working with my colleagues as a co-chair of the Victims of Communism Caucus,” Kaptur said. “As many of my constituents have personally experienced, the successful struggle for freedom from under the yoke of authoritarianism, inherent to communism, deserves special attention in the annals of history. This caucus will shine a light on the victims’ struggle, and work to keep the flame of human rights around the world alive.”
“Our bipartisan caucus is determined to ensure that Congress and the American people remain aware of and continue to fight against the deadly and ongoing evil of Marxist and Leninist ideology—still promoted by communist dictators,” Smith said. “One out of five people in the world still live under communism, subject to horrific abuses and denied their most basic human rights. China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, and Laos remain communist dictatorships,” Smith said. “There has also never been full accountability for the crimes committed by past communist regimes, including planned famines, deportations, and ethnic cleansing. Thus, the victims of those regimes do not have closure.”
“I will never forget my experiences in Berlin at the fall of the Wall in 1989,” Lipinski said. “As we approach the 28th anniversary of that day, we now have about a third of the U.S. population that has lived in a world without the Soviet Union. In my district, there are many people who suffered under communism, watched relatives and friends perish, and were forced to leave their homes and their countries. It is our duty to tell these stories, the truth about communism, and preserve this history for all generations. I am proud to join my fellow co-chairs in establishing the Victims of Communism Caucus.”