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As crazy as it sounds, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a member of the Democratic Party, accused Governor Ron DeSantis of running the “Maduro and Castro formula” in Florida. In short: she called DeSantis a communist “autocrat,” and called his administration a “regime” that erodes the freedoms of Florida citizens.
“He doesn’t want you to vote, he doesn’t want you to protest, and he doesn’t even want you to disagree with him. I’m not describing the autocrat of a communist regime, I’m talking about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,” Fried outlines in an article published in El Nuevo Herald. “Since he took office, he has made his motivations clear and has become more authoritarian by the day. Wielding the power of his office, the governor has executed measures to erode the freedom and rights of the Sunshine State’s constituents and businesses, reward his wealthy donors and intimidate the media.”
Commissioner Nikki Fried’s op-ed article is a mess. It is full of false equivalences that are offensive to any Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Cuban who suffered in their own flesh the socialist tyrannies of Chavez-Maduro, Ortega and the Castros.
But Nikki Fried does not care about any of that, she is only interested in manipulating the reader to disqualify the governor. In her piece, the Democrat argues that DeSantis is a communist autocrat because “he is prioritizing legislation that adds hurdles to mail-in voting,” which she alleges is voter suppression. Fried makes the false equivalency that DeSantis’ efforts are similar to the actions of the Maduro regime and other communist dictatorships that suppressed voting rights.
The ignorance of that argument is abhorrent. Clearly, Nikki Fried did not take the time to find out how the tyrant Hugo Chávez broke the democratic system in the Venezuelan country through the takeover of institutions.
Chávez took over the judiciary, the electoral power and he also took over the loyalty of the military. In this way, he carried out electoral frauds in a completely rigged system. In fact, communist regimes do not care at all that the people go out en masse to vote, the more people vote, the better for them, as this gives legitimacy to their fraudulent elections.
Precisely, not going out to vote is what caused Maduro to have no constitutional authority before the international community and there is a power vacuum in Venezuela. To compare the legislature promoted by DeSantis with something that Chávez has done is of an impressive vileness.
Nikki Fried also had the audacity to compare the martyrs and political prisoners in Cuba to the “Black Lives Matter” and “Antifa” rioters.
“DeSantis has also executed actions to silence dissident voices. His top legislative priority was House Bill 1, HB1, which clamps down on free speech and criminalizes protests in what is a clear violation of our constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment rights,” the commissioner says.
“Under this new law you could be jailed, even if you are peacefully protesting if others around you turn violent. This move to silence, intimidate and imprison opposing voices bears a chilling resemblance to Fidel Castro’s actions to imprison critics of his regime.”
This law that DeSantis pushed for, debatable and controversial if you will, is about tougher law enforcement against riots and acts of vandalism. Thousands of businesses and citizens’ property across the country suffered the wrath of violence this past summer. Comparing the governor’s response against rioters to the Castro regime’s persecution of dissent is another notorious false equivalency in this article.
The commissioner’s article is not only full of weak arguments for comparing DeSantis to any communist dictator. It is also blatantly hypocritical, because she herself conveniently forgets the vices of her own party.
She accuses DeSantis of treating the media badly, which is true. The governor is in constant conflict with the establishment media. However, did the Republican push for any laws or use the coercive force of the state or his political position to censor any media contrary to his political ideology? The answer is no.
Closer to the Democrats?
Instead, those who are using the force of the state to pressure the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prevent a conservative business people from buying the Radio Caracol Miami station is the Hispanic Caucus of the Democratic Party. Since Nikki Fried likes to compare DeSantis to Maduro, she should first say that her fellow Democrats are a lot like Chavismo in seeking to censor conservative media.
Now that the issue of packing the Supreme Court is all the rage, Commissioner Fried should also briefly go to Google and look up how Chavez increased the number of justices and took over the Supreme Court with people only sympathetic to his ideology and political positions. You guessed it: the Democrats.
Finally, since we are comparing DeSantis to Maduro, the Castro regime and the Ortega regime; Fried should also take a look at how the Republican governor dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and look for differences with respect to how Venezuela does it.
In fact, when it comes to health and economic policies and state impositions, Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newson could very well be compared to some communist autocrat. Both were promoters of radical quarantines and restrictive sanitary measures, as in Venezuela. Both governors are pursuing demagogic subsidy policies that increase government spending and drive up the fiscal deficit. Both push an economic agenda of “redistribution of wealth” in the best socialist style. DeSantis would be the opposite model.
Commissioner Nikki Fried’s text in El Nuevo Herald is baseless and unsubstantiated. Her intent is to discredit a governor through fallacies, manipulation, and a great ability to forget her own party’s own vices. The reality is that Democrats are desperate for the great success of the DeSantis administration, who is turning Florida into one of the freest and most prosperous states in the Union and is positioning himself as a strong presidential candidate for 2024.
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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