Senator Ted Cruz is advocating for a meaningful gesture in a protest against the ongoing oppression perpetrated by the Cuban government.
He is spearheading an effort to rename the street in front of Cuba’s embassy in Washington, D.C., in honor of the late Oswaldo Payá, a courageous dissident whose suspicious death raised allegations of government involvement.
Cruz acknowledges that renaming a street may not appear significant on the surface.
However, he believes it holds great importance, as it would require anyone corresponding with the embassy or seeking directions to acknowledge the name of the dissident.
By compelling the Cuban regime to acknowledge the bravery and heroism of Oswaldo Payá, he aims to focus on the continued existence of a brutal regime even after the passing of dictator Fidel Castro, asserting that the machinery of suppressing dissent remains firmly in place.
On two occasions, Oswaldo Payá, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, established the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba during the 1980s.
In the 1990s, he advocated for a referendum to expand the country’s freedom of expression, assembly, and civil rights.
In 2012, Payá tragically lost his life in a car accident.
While the Cuban government claims the incident resulted from a car losing control, his daughter firmly maintains that the vehicle was deliberately forced off the road.
Despite bipartisan support, Cruz’s legislation for the street name change did not pass the House of Representatives when Democrats controlled it.
However, he expresses optimism about its chances now, with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Miami, introducing the House bill.
Cruz, who has Cuban ancestry, and two other senators successfully guided similar legislation through the Senate in 2021 with bipartisan backing.
He draws personal motivation from his father and aunt, who suffered at the hands of Cuba’s oppressive regimes.
His father, Rafael, endured imprisonment under the regime of Fulgencio Batista, while his aunt, Sonia Lourdes, was later incarcerated during Castro’s rule.
Texas, the state Cruz represents, is home to an estimated 120,000 Cuban Americans, second only to Florida in terms of population, according to the U.S. Census.