WASHINGTON – Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) on November 8 announced the formation of the Victims of Communism Caucus for the 115th Congress (2017-2019).
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.
During the upcoming congressional 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.
The caucus will honor the memory of the 100 million victims of communism and raise awareness about the dissidents who continue to protest against current communist regimes.
Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Marion Smith said, “There is no more fitting occasion than the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution to announce the Victims of Communism Caucus. It sends a powerful message on behalf of the more than 100 million people victimized by communism in the last century and one-fifth of the world’s population who still live in a single party state that adheres to this failed ideology.”
“I look forward to working with my colleagues as a Co-Chair of the Victims of Communism Caucus,” said Rep. Kaptur. “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.”
“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,” said Rep. Ross. “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.”
“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,” said Rep. Smith, a human rights champion during his 19 terms in Congress and founding member of the new Victims of Communism Caucus on Capitol Hill. “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,” Rep. 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,” said Rep. Lipinski. “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.”