CONGRESSIONAL HEARING: Holding Cuban Leaders Accountable

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, the House Committtee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security held a hearing, led by Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Ron DeSantis, to discuss the Administration’s Cuba policy, review the 1996 shoot down of the Hermanos al Rescate (Brothers to the Rescue) humanitarian aircraft, and examine human rights violations by the Castro regime.




Key witnesses included:

  • Ms. Miriam de la Peña, Mother of Hermanos al Rescate Pilot Mario de la Peña
  • Ms. Ana Alejandre Ciereszko, Sister of Hermanos al Rescate Pilot, Armando Alejandre Jr.
  • Mr. Jason Poblete, PobleteTamargo Attorney 
  • Ambassador Roger Noriega, Visiting Fellow at American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Dr. William LeoGrande, Dean Emeritus for American Univeristy’s School of Public Affairs


  • On February 24, 1996, the humanitarian organization Hermanos al Rescate (Brothers to the Rescue) launched a search and rescue mission for refugees fleeing the oppressive Castro regime in Cuba. Two Cuban MiGs followed the planes and destroyed two small rescue planes with heat seeking missiles killing four men.
  • President Obama visited Cuba in March 2016, becoming the first U.S. president to visit the island since 1928. As part of his Cuban Thaw, President Obama released three of the five Cuban intelligence operatives who were convicted for their role in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down.
  • In January 2017, the Administration signaled a shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba by curtailing American travel and investment and resumption of the embargo. The Administration has also withdrawn diplomats out of Cuba.


Full Testimonies and further information can be found here