A group of Cuban-American lawmakers have slammed a decision from the State Department to grant visas to a troupe of Cuban artists that are backed by the Raul Castro regime, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
The artists are set to appear at a festival called "Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World." The lawmakers urge Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to consider denying visas to the group for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., which begins May 8.
The communist government in Cuba has spent decades suppressing independent expression, said the group in a statement on Twitter.
The group includes Florida Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J. , The Free Beacon reported.
"It is a disgrace that despite the abundance of Cuban ingenuity and creativity in the arts, that so many resources will be devoted to highlighting the works generated by a brutal, repressive regime that has no respect for free and independent expression," the lawmakers wrote.
Some Cuban artists who have expressed their opposition to the Castro regime were excluded from the festival, the lawmakers wrote.
"We are concerned that so many talented artists who do not support the Castro regime’s propaganda appear to have been shunned, while the regime’s propagandists seem to have been welcomed with open arms," the group wrote.
The group also blasted a plan to include a film festival from the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry. They said that institute only permits the showing of "regime-approved pro-Castro propaganda films."
Miguel Diaz-Canel took office as president of Cuba April 19, ending the six-decade rule of Cuba by the Castro family, starting with Fidel Castro and then brother Raul.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.