A bipartisan group of lawmakers have launched a new caucus in the House of Representatives to honor and raise awareness of the more than 100 million people killed under communist regimes.
Representatives Dennis Ross (R., Fla.), Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio), Dan Lipinski (D., Ill.), and Chris Smith (R., N.J.) announced the creation of the Victims of Communism Caucus Tuesday, on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in the Soviet Union. The White House also released a statement designating Nov. 7 as the National Day for the Victims of Communism, promising to continue to "shine the light of liberty for all who yearn for a brighter, freer future."
"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," Ross, the senior deputy majority whip, said. "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."
The bipartisan group seeks to raise awareness of the victims of communism over the past century and also focus on the five existing communist regimes in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam.
"During the upcoming 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," Ross's office said.
Marion Smith, the executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, praised the new caucus for fighting against a dangerous ideology.
"There is no more fitting occasion than the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution to announce the Victims of Communism Caucus," Smith said. "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," Rep. Kaptur said. "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," she said.