Omar, McCollum vote against resolution supporting Cuban protesters

Neither of the congresswomen have commented publicly on their votes.

Left: Rep. Ilhan Omar (Gage Skidmore/Flickr). Right: Rep. Betty McCollum (USDA/Flickr)

The House of Representatives passed a resolution Wednesday that expressed support for Cubans who have been demanding basic freedoms and protesting their regime’s repressive rule.

Zero Republicans voted against the resolution, which passed in a 382-40 vote. All 40 “nay” votes belonged to House Democrats. Two of those who opposed the resolution include Minnesota’s own Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum.

Neither of the congresswomen have commented publicly on their votes. The two other Democrats in the Minnesota delegation, Dean Phillips and Angie Craig, voted to pass the resolution.

In July, mass protests erupted in Cuba due to a food and medicine shortage and the government’s poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The protests were said to be the largest against the regime since 1994, when the Cuban economy entered free fall after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, its most powerful ally, and authorities initially prevented people from escaping the island.

The protests also represented frustration with the regime’s failure to keep its promise to enact necessary economic and social reforms. The death of longtime dictator Fidel Castro in 2016 and the April 2021 resignation of his brother, Raúl, as head of the Communist Party signaled to many Cubans the dawn of a new era, one more prosperous and free than the Castro era.

But the Communist Party still rules the day, and persistent U.S. sanctions have only further entrenched Cuban leadership in maintaining the status quo.

Although implicitly refusing to condemn the Cuban regime, McCollum has not shied away from blasting Israel for its “repressive decision” to designate six Palestinian organizations as “terrorist organizations,” which include Defense for Children International – Palestine and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, among others.

In late October, McCollum introduced the “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” which vows to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money sent to Israel will not be used to seize and destroy Palestinian property, forcibly relocate Palestinian populations, and annex further territory.

Omar’s opposition to the state of Israel and enthusiastic support for Palestine is also well-documented.