Listen to Cuba's Protesters – It's Not About COVID, It's About Freedom and Repression
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
July 13, 2021
Across the island of Cuba, we are witnessing an unprecedented and organic moment. Sixty-two years of misery, censorship, repression, and socialist lies have boiled over into grassroots protests by the Cuban people across the nation...
In the United States, however, many have so far failed to understand what has truly driven the Cuban people to stand up to decades of oppression. President Biden remained silent over the weekend while one senior State Department official laughably attributed the protests to "concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages."
Manipulative Twitter trends are following their lead and many U.S. news outlets, to the extent that they’ve covered the protests at all, have largely undermined the historic nature of what is occurring in Cuba.
Let’s be clear: food, medicine, and gas shortages are sadly nothing new in Cuba. The regime’s disastrous COVID response is the predictable result of a corrupt government. Instead of listening to America’s legacy media, we should take the protesters at their word. Cubans across the country are waving the American flag as a beacon of hope and chanting, "Freedom!" and "Down with the dictatorship!" This is not just a response to the COVID outbreak, but an unambiguous rejection of six decades of suffering under totalitarian socialism and communism.
After waiting nearly 24 hours, President Biden finally voiced his support for the Cuban people on Monday. But that is not enough. Now, his administration must develop an action plan that makes clear the U.S. stands with the people of Cuba in this pivotal moment. So far, they’ve missed the mark.
If Cuban-Americans, as previously mentioned by the president's press secretary, make the best ambassadors for the island’s freedom, then the White House must hear the clamor of Cubans residing in Miami’s Calle Ocho, Orlando, Jacksonville, Cape Coral, and Tampa.
What the Cuban people really want is the freedom to live a normal life in the country they call home. They wonder, if Cubans like my own parents, can move abroad and achieve their dreams, why aren’t they able to on their own home island? The protesters are offering a clear answer to that question: the tyrannical, communist regime under which they have suffered for six decades makes it impossible.
Now, it’s time for America and the rest of the world to stand with the Cuban people as they make their voice heard and demand their God-given rights.
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