Democrats and Republicans divided on Cuban protest response

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Democrats and Republicans divided on Cuban protest response

The Biden Administration and other prominent Democrats have been struggling to respond to the growing anti-communist protests roiling Cuba, as Republican politicians, particularly in Florida, are promoting messages of solidarity.

The White House finally released a statement Monday after a weekend of clashes, claiming protests were about “relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic,” among demands for freedom from Cuba’s “authoritarian” leadership — without mentioning the Communist dictatorship.

“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,” the statement read.

The sentiment echoed a tweet from Acting Assistant Secretary for the US Department of State Julie Chung, which claimed the protests were caused by “concern about rising Covid cases/deaths & medicine shortages.”

Cuban demonstrators in Madrid, Spain.
Cuban demonstrators in Madrid, Spain protested outside the Spanish Lower Chamber to ask the Cuban Government to “not violently suppress the peaceful rallies in Cuba.”
FERNANDO VILLAR/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Republican officials, however, especially those in the Sunshine State, have spent the weekend cheering the protests against the more than half-century-old regime in Havana.

Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that “people in Cuba are protesting 62 years of socialism lies, tyranny and misery, not ‘expressing concerns about…Covid,’” taking a swipe at Chung’s statement.

Miami’s mayor tweeted that, “This is the moment for freedom in Cuba. IT CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER,” and shared a photo of himself speaking in front of a protest in his own city supporting the events in Cuba.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that “people in Cuba are protesting 62 years of socialism lies, tyranny and misery, not ‘expressing concerns about…COVID.”
REUTERS

“We are imploring the USA to take action,” he added.

Florida Rep. Greg Steube told The Post: “The United States needs to stand firm with the brave Cuban people as they protest the Castro regime and its years of oppression and communism. Instead of ignorantly blaming the protests on COVID as some Administration officials have, Joe Biden needs to be vocal in support and take action as they fight for freedom, opportunity and liberty.”

Echoing a similar sentiment, Georgia Rep. Jody Hice said, “Cuban demonstrators waving the American flag as they march through the streets demanding an end to a tyrannical communist regime shows that the United States is still the beacon to freedom-loving people everywhere.”

Government supporters gather at the Maximo Gomez monument in Havana, Cuba.
Government supporters gather at the Maximo Gomez monument in Havana, Cuba during a counter-protest.
AP

Cuba has blamed the United States for the uprising, amid reports that that the regime has shut down internet access to quell the growing protests.

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