Sen. Rick Scott: Democrats must heed the failures of communism in Cuba

January 17, 2023

Miami Herald
Sen. Rick Scott
December 3, 2021

The peaceful demonstrations we’ve seen across Cuba in recent days - the largest the island has seen in decades - are terrifying the brutal communist regime. The Cuban people are marching in the streets and crying out against the illegitimate, communist rule that has stripped them of their freedom, liberty and basic human rights and dignity for more than 60 years. The message is clear: it is time for a new day of freedom and democracy in Cuba. At the onset of the protests in Cuba, I called for the Biden administration to enact further sanctions, so I welcome its announcement of sanctions against regime leadership and military units responsible for gross human rights abuses. Now, President Biden has the opportunity to go further, fully abandon the failed appeasement polices of the Obama administration and lead Democrats in the U.S. to denounce the evils of these political systems. President Biden knows socialist governments only bring suffering, and that appeasement of dictators does not induce reform. But even as members of his party are echoing Cuban communist propaganda, he can chart a different path. Four members of Congress, all Democrats, are members of the Democrat Socialists of America – Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush, and Congressman Jamaal Bowman. Earlier this month, representatives from the Democratic Socialists of America met with a delegation from Nicolás Maduro’s illegitimate regime just weeks before it attempted to arrest the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó. And as protests in Cuba were ongoing, the DSA stated it stood with the communist “Revolution” against the American embargo. Similarly, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Greg Meeks joined Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders in blaming the United States for the suffering of the Cuban people. They would rather blame America than admit socialism is a failed ideology.

 

There is also Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was forced to walk back comments praising Fidel Castro last year, has been noticeably silent since the Cuban protests begun. This rhetoric designed to appease communist dictators is disgusting. Just 90 miles off our shores, the Cuban regime has unleashed its secret police and military forces. The Cuban people are being beaten in the streets, unlawfully detained and threatened in their homes. More than 500 peaceful protesters have been detained, many of them likely kidnapped by the regime, including leaders from civil society groups such as UNPACU, the San Isidro Movement and the Ladies in White. Miguel Díaz-Canel has even cut internet connectivity to hide his brutal response and to silence the people. Amid these horrors, President Biden must steer his party in the right direction. Castro sympathizers are walking the halls of Congress and arguing for full government control of multiple industries. They are pushing an agenda of systemic socialism. They want to defund the police and indoctrinate our kids in Marxist ideologies that divide people by skin color and train them to hate each other. For these so-called “democratic socialists” the more dependent the American people are on government, the better. President Biden does not have to follow suit. He has the chance to show real leadership, unite all Americans in support of the Cuban people’s cries for freedom, disavow the failed appeasement policies of the past and treat Díaz-Canel like the brutal, terrorist-harboring dictator he is.

I invite President Biden, and all the members of the “Socialist Squad” to come to Florida and visit with the families who fled Cuba’s communist dictatorship. These families, who left parents and siblings behind to find safe harbor and freedom in America, will share the true meaning and consequences of socialism and communism. Perhaps their stories will help these members realize how much they have benefited from American democracy and free market capitalism. Today, there is only one path forward for the United States – the full, unapologetic and unequivocal support of the brave Cuban people fighting for a new day of freedom. President Biden has the opportunity to separate himself from the appeasement policies of the Obama administration, to stand up to the “Socialist Squad” and support freedom for the Cuban people. The time for “¡libertad!” in Cuba is now. The terrified Cuban regime must listen to the cries for freedom and abandon the socialist ideology which has left the Cuban people’s nation in ruin. The Democrat Party, led by President Biden, must do the same.