This week, Cuba has erupted in mass protests across the country against the brutal dictatorship that has oppressed its people for over 60 years. On Sunday, thousands of people went to the streets across 40 different cities to oppose the oppression in a desperate cry for freedom and human rights within the nation. In response, the government has cracked down on any dissidence. It has furthermore decided to shut down internet services within the country to reduce the flow of information as tensions continue to escalate. Florida Governor Ron Desantis sent Joe Biden a letter asking for help and support for the freedom of the people in Cuba by utilizing our technology to provide internet access and restore the flow of information.
In the letter, Desantis says, “I write to urge you to assist in providing Internet access to the people of Cuba standing up against communist oppression and demanding a voice after decades of suffering under the yoke of a cruel dictatorship. As you know, the Cuban people are taking to the streets to protest the Communist regime, and the Cuban government has responded with violence. At first, the world could see the images and videos of this mass movement, but now the tyrannical regime of President Miguel Diaz-Canel has shut off access to the Internet.”
Desantis continues, “Technology exists to provide Internet access into Cuba remotely, using the innovation of American enterprise and the diverse industries here… I urge you to act immediately to provide all necessary authorizations, indemnifications and funding to American businesses with the capability to provide Internet access for the people of Cuba. Steps must be taken immediately.”
He closes the document with the statement, “In the hands of these brave individuals, such access may be the key to finally bringing in democracy to the island.”
Biden has previously shown support for the protests. On Monday, he said that, “We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”
Without action from Biden, these are just words. In the days to come, we will see what the Biden administration decides to do to help the people of Cuba and if Ron Desantis’s call to further action will be heard.
Many in the media have attempted to put the reason for the protests on the Covid 19 pandemic, with a lack of resources, medical help and increased cases in the nation said to have been what led to the action from the people of Cuba. Many Cuban Americans disagree with this assessment, claiming that these protests are not merely about the pandemic, but are solely about freedom against tyranny.
Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants himself, said in an interview with Fox News that, “Why…? Because communism doesn’t work. Because Marxism sucks… People are saying ‘We don’t want to live under this oppressive regime. We can’t own a business. We can’t feed our family. We can’t go out and find a job on our own. We depend on the government for everything and they give us nothing’.”
Bernie Sanders, who praised Cuba in the past, said online that this wasn’t because of the government, but rather the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump. He said, “I call on the Cuban government to respect opposition rights and refrain from violence… It’s also long past time to end the unilateral U.S. embargo on Cuba, which has only hurt, not helped, the Cuban people.”
In response to Bernie’s absurdity, a protestor tweeted, “As a Cuban, I can tell you the U.S. Embargo have to stay in place until the Castro/DiazCanel dictatorship is out of Cuba”.
Maria Salazar, a Republican in Florida and the daughter of Cuban immigrants, said in an interview with Fox News that, “Don’t let them fool you. This is about freedom. This is about human rights… This is the first time in 62 years of repressive socialist tyranny that the Cubans go out into the street and demand freedom… Not only that, but you see the American flags. What does that tell you?”
Cuban American Jason Miyares, a candidate for Virginia Attorney General, also spoke to Fox News in an interview adding that, “What we’re seeing in Cuba are people who have had 60 years living under the foot of a brutal communist dictatorship and they want things that, quite frankly, we in America take for granted every day. They want freedom of religion. Freedom of conscience. Freedom of speech. And the freedom to choose the destiny of their own government. Right now, that has been denied to the Cuban people for over 60 years and you are seeing a spontaneous outbreak of a yearning for freedom.”
With Americans across the nation coming together in support for freedom in Cuba, let us hope that Biden will answer the call from Ron Desantis to help provide internet access in a true step forward that will help the Cuban people bring in freedom and let their story be told on the world stage.