Discussing the protests in Cuba at a roundtable with people who have fled the country on Tuesday, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke about how the United States should address the situation, emphasizing the importance of first understanding why the Cuban people are protesting.
“We have people here who were in the Bay of Pigs and they remember the Soviet involvement in Cuba from the 1960’s on,” DeSantis said. “Now you have China, and they are involved in Venezuela —and oh, by the way — now is not the time to be taking away sanctions on Venezuela: that’s gonna end up helping the Cuban government. Obviously it will help the dictatorship in Venezuela as well.”
“So, I think that you have the potential for a lot of hostile influences in the Western Hemisphere and in that Cuban regime is the centerpiece of any malign actor who wants to be involved in the Western Hemisphere against American interests,” he continued. “The first place you go is to Havana and you make common cause with them. And so they have caused – if you look at the Western Hemisphere since the regime seized power, Havana has been the focal point of almost all the problems in the Western Hemisphere. The majority of the problems emanate from there. When you see some of these other Marxist regimes that have Cuban dictatorship’s fingerprints on it every single time, that regime’s existence has obviously been very devastating to millions of people’s lives. It’s been very hostile to American interests consistently for over 60 years every step of the way.”
DeSantis added, “This is a very dynamic and fluid situation but I would say at a minimum, if we’re understanding the stakes, understanding why people are revolting, and we’re siding with the Cuban people, you could probably get a lot of the policies right at that point. If you go into it thinking they’re upset about a vaccine shortage or they’re upset that there’s not enough groceries in the store, but they just want the regime to change a few things around and kind of rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, if that’s what you think, then you clearly have no hope of getting a favorable outcome.”
Last weekend, thousands of Cubans gathered to protest the authoritarian Cuban government and the widespread poverty caused by its socialist policies. Many protestors waved the American flag while chanting “liberty” and “freedom.”
Describing the protests, Florida Republican Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez said, “For over 6 decades, the despotic Castro regime in Cuba has deprived its people of life and economic liberty. The images we are seeing from across the island are an outcry as shortages of basic necessities have become commonplace. As a Cuban-American, I stand in solidarity with the freedom-seeking people of Cuba calling for the end of the communist dictatorship. The Castro’s continued repression won’t keep the Cuban people from peacefully demanding their God-given rights. As Cubans risk everything in protest, Florida will continue to support out Cuban brothers and sisters who are fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights.”