The Cuban people have flooded the streets, protesting against a tyrannical regime that has kept a tight iron grip over the island since 1959. Thousands of Cubans have decided to openly show their disapproval to a government that has not only kept them in abject misery but has also taken away their liberty. As the home of a vibrant Cuban exile community, Florida politicians (regardless of party) have taken a vigorous position defending the brave efforts of protestors.
The Cuban-American community is a vital part of Florida, it settled in the state especially after Castro took power more than sixty years ago. According to the Migration Policy Institute, there were approximately 1.3 million Cuban Americans in the country in 2018, of which 77% of them live in the Sunshine State, with most of them (63%) living in the greater Miami Metropolitan Area.
The Cuban-American vote has also proven to be crucial for politicians who want to win Florida, one of the top-battleground states in the Union. Just in 2020, the shift of the Cuban-Americans in the Miami-Dade/Broward area proved to be pivotal in Trump’s victory in Florida, a state that Obama managed to win twice.
Hence, any politician who wishes to have any type of successful political career in Florida needs to take an unquestionable stance against the despotic Cuban regime.
Republicans quickly expressed their support for the Cuban people
The mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, tweeted a statement of support yesterday. Saying that people back in Cuba were “demanding the very basics (…) food, water, vaccines, and freedom” and that he stood in solidarity with them.
Many of the Republican members of congress that represent South Florida were also quick to signal their support to the protesters in Cuba. With Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27) saying that the scenes of hundreds of Cubans openly protesting in the streets was something “we’ve never seen anything like this before” and that the Cuban people was “determined to be free”.
Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) also commended the protests headed by Cuban protesters, while also warning that the communist regime will “use the fiercest violence” against its own citizens, which is why the USA and the International Community should offer “maximum solidarity” to the movement. Rep. Carlos Gimenez (FL-26) also supported the protests, tweeting that Cuba’s humanitarian catastrophe is the fault of “communism’s incompetence”.
The Senators for Florida, Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott have also been vocal supporters for the Cuban protesters. Rubio, who is also Cuban-American, posted a video where explaining what is currently happening on the island, while also keeping a steady barrage of information coming from the island. Scott has also issued a statement condemning the Diaz-Canel government and saying to the Cuban people that the United States “stands with you in this fight” and that Cuba’s freedom is “closer than ever”.
Governor DeSantis has also made a public commitment towards liberty and the fight against the Habana regime. Tweeting a video of the protests and saying that “Florida supports the people of Cuba” and warning that the Cuban regime is trying to silence those who are speaking up against the regime.
Florida Democrats also support Cuban protests
While some Democrats at the national level have been criticized for their ambivalence towards the authoritarian regime in La Habana, with Bernie Sanders infamously commending its healthcare system when asked point-blank if he thought Castro was a dictator in 2020, the top Democrats who live in Florida have taken a position far more supportive to the Cuban people.
Rep. Val Demmings (FL-10), who is currently running for the Senate seat of Marco Rubio, posted a tweet where she supports the Cuban efforts to “struggle for the right to create their own future” and that the U.S policy towards the matter should support the “protesters, their safety, and their right to self-determination”.
The Democratic hopeful for the gubernatorial race next year, Congressman and former governor Charlie Crist, has also made a statement of support of the protests. Tweeting that “thousands across the island decided to take to the streets & protest for freedom and human dignity” and that “We stand with Cubans on the island and in Florida in the fight for a free Cuba”.
Another gubernatorial candidate, Commissioner Nikki Fried, has also joined the calls of supports by tweeting that “we all share the same goal — a Cuba where the Cuban people are free from their oppressors and are able to write their own future”.
Both Florida Democrats and republicans know first-hand the hardships that the Cuban regime has caused to hundreds of thousands of Cuban migrants, who have fled their homeland in search of a better life in the United States.
When dealing with issues as clear as that of Cuba’s 63-year-old fight for freedom there should not be a partisan divide, and Florida is. Taking a stance against the Cuban regime is not only a thing of good politics but also just the right thing to do.