Bipartisan support from Florida rulers rises for Cuban protesters

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TALLAHASSEE – Florida political leaders have expressed bipartisan support for Cubans after thousands of islanders took to the streets over the weekend to protest the country’s government amid economic turmoil and lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines.

US Senator Marco Rubio, son of Cuban exiles, on Monday condemned Cuban leaders in social media posts.

“Who forbids fishermen and farmers from selling food? -Who is prohibited from owning a business? -Who takes 10% of dollars sent by relatives and converts the rest into worthless currency? -Who built luxury resorts for tourists but left dilapidated houses for Cubans? The socialist regime #CubaSOS, ”Rubio tweeted.

In a joint statement, lawmakers from the Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation called on President Joe Biden’s administration to “show solidarity and demand that the rights of Cubans” be respected. Biden called on the “Cuban regime to listen to its people and meet their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves” himself.

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“We support the Cuban people and their clear call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by the authoritarian regime in Cuba,” the president said. in a prepared press release. Monday.

Governor Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, addressed the Cuban protests in a tweet on Sunday.

“Florida supports the Cuban people as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana. The Cuban dictatorship has suppressed the Cuban people for decades and is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies. #SOSCuba, ”DeSantis tweeted.

According to media reports, protesters took to the streets of several cities, including Havana, the capital of Cuba, over the weekend to complain about the deteriorating economic conditions exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the sanctions imposed by them. United States. The protests, a rarity in Cuba, include calls for the resignation of President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

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Support for protesters rose Monday in Florida, home to many Cuban immigrants and their families. During a press briefing Monday on recovery efforts linked to the Surfside condominium collapse, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez told reporters DeSantis “is actively monitoring protests on the island.”

Senatorial Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation, also released a statement on the protests.

“There is a huge hunger rising just off the coast of Florida, for opportunity, for medicine, for food and for basic human rights. Instead of suppressing the unrest with violence, the Cuban government must give in to the people’s call for freedom, ”said Book.

Republican US Senator Rick Scott also spoke, praising Cubans for rejecting what he called “the oppressive Communist regime” through their protests.

“The message from the Cuban people to Díaz-Canel and Raul Castro has never been clearer: your time is up,” Scott said.

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US Representative John Rutherford, a former Jacksonville sheriff who represents Florida’s 4th District, tweeted: “America stands with the Cuban people as they rise up against the evils of Communism. Freedom and liberty must prevail!

And US Representative Val Demings, a Democrat from Orlando, condemned “any violent repression of the Cuban people by the current regime.” Violence against protesters “is unacceptable,” Demings said in a statement prepared on Monday.

“The Cuban people, like everyone else, deserve democracy, freedom, health, security and prosperity. US policy must support the protesters, their safety and their right to self-determination, ”said Demings, who is contesting Rubio’s candidacy for re-election next year.

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