Florida Governor Urges Cuban Military to Reject Communism
Thousands of people took to the streets of Havana and other cities last week to protest decades of authoritarian rule and to call for the removal of President Miguel Canel-Diaz. Protestors also expressed frustration regarding ongoing food and medicine shortages, power outages, lack of Internet access, and COVID deaths.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) urged the Cuban military to support the protests.
“The best role for military – the Cuban military – is to realize that time’s up, that you can’t keep doing the bidding of a repressive dictatorship that is not governing with the consent of the governed,” said DeSantis.
“And so I think that the best thing would be for those militaries, particularly some of the younger military folks, to understand you can really be heroic in this,” continued DeSantis. “You can play an instrumental role in founding a free Cuba, refunding the country and a free Republic. And that will be something that will help millions of people.”
DeSantis also appealed to President Joe Biden to provide Internet to Cuba following Canel-Diaz’s attempts to turn it off.
“The one thing Communist regimes fear the most is the truth, and if we’re able to help Cubans communicate with one another, also communicate to the outside world, that truth is going to matter; that truth I think will be decisive.”
Cuba is of particular interest to the state of Florida, as it has welcomed thousands of refugees fleeing to the United States on boats and rafts. Descendants of those refugees joined the protest Thursday by marching from Little Havana (a neighborhood in South Miami) to the Freedom Tower, a landmark in downtown Miami that was once used to process Cubans fleeing the Castro regime.
The protests continued Friday in Miramar and Hialeah, two cities located near Miami.
“Communism needs to die!” said protestor Maria Fernandez. “I’ve cried nights knowing my family is over there struggling and they’re hungry. They don’t have water or food, they wait hours to get a piece of meat and sometimes they can’t even get it.”
The protests were mostly peaceful, though two individuals were arrested on charges that include battery on a police enforcement officer and taking part in an unlawful assembly that blocked an exit ramp on I-275. Both men face charges under a new law, signed by DeSantis in response to the George Floyd protests, that increases penalties for crimes committed during a violent protest.
“The Cuban Americans who were out demonstrating at Versailles, they’re not violent, those aren’t riots, they’re out there being peaceful and they’re making their voice heard and we support them and their ability to do that,” said DeSantis, “but it can’t be where you shut down commerce or you shut down the ability to use these arteries.”
Author’s Note: Governor DeSantis is one of the strongest voices against Communism right now and the Biden Administration would do well to heed his call. Last month, he signed a first-of-its-kind bill that aims to increase the teaching of Communism (and its evils) in schools so that the next generation will understand the threat it poses to Democracy.