In a demonstration that took place from Sunday evening into Monday, thousands of protesters assembled outside the White House in solidarity with the people of Cuba. The group gathered to call on the Biden administration to take action against the communist Cuban regime, which has brutally oppressed its people for decades. The protesters hope to persuade President Joe Biden to do something to help the Cuban people. But is the administration willing to give more than platitudes?
The Miami Herald interviewed a number of individuals present at the demonstration. Alex Perez, a 27-year-old from Hialeah, FL, stated that he never believed he “would live to see something like this” and that he attended the protest because “we need to make sure there’s pressure for people who didn’t have to go through what I went through to know what’s going on in Cuba.”
According to the Herald, the demonstration was “timed for July 26, the date that Fidel Castro led his first attack against the Batista government and a national holiday in Cuba.”
The report also notes that the majority of demonstrators were from Miami. But others came from as far as New Jersey and Texas.
BREAKING: Protests erupt in front of the White House – demanding President Biden to take action in Cuba. pic.twitter.com/a2kqkkvHbW
— Newsmax (@newsmax) July 26, 2021
While participants in the event agreed that the United States should do more to help the people of Cuba, they did not all agree on what type of action the U.S. should take. Some favored a military intervention to overthrow the regime. Others called for a non-violent approach.
From the Herald:
Some protesters walked around with signs calling for U.S. military intervention. Others said the U.S. should use every means possible to get internet to Cubans on the island who are attempting to resist the regime. And Perez and Cruz said they favored a “humanitarian intervention” where the U.S. and other countries enter Cuba with supplies and equipment that can be directly delivered to the people instead of the government.
Maria Fundora, the head of a Texas-based group called Cuba Libre that gives legal help to Cuban asylum seekers, told the Herald that she supports a military solution. She said:
We went into Kuwait, Somalia and didn’t ask for anyone’s permission. We went in and killed Osama Bin Laden and didn’t ask anyone. Are you telling me someone from Cuba needs to do something as horrible as 9/11 to get the U.S. to do something?”
The demonstrators stood outside the White House chanting “Libertad” and “Patria y Vida,” which means “Homeland and Life.” Cuban and American flags were prominently displayed, as were pride flags. One of the speakers called out the Cuban regime for its harsh treatment of members of the LGBTQ community.
The turnout at the demonstration is a prime indicator that many Americans would like to see the United States play a bigger role in addressing the plight of the Cuban people. But the question remains: Is the Biden administration willing to go beyond words and take concrete action against the communist regime?
According to the New York Post, “Biden previously said the US is investigating whether it’s technically possible to override an internet blackout imposed by Communist authorities.”
If Cuban citizens were able to access more information on the internet, it could possibly help them coordinate a resistance. Indeed, when protesters took to the streets in Cuba two weeks ago, the government throttled mobile internet access to stop the demonstrations. In 2019, the regime made it legal for citizens to have private wifi. But one must obtain a permit to take advantage of this, and the Cuban government is in complete control of what its people can do online.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is one prominent voice speaking out in support of subverting the regime by beaming internet into the country. “Internet access for the Cuban people is of critical importance as they stand up against the repressive Communist government,” he said in a letter sent to the White House. Members of Congress have also voiced similar sentiments.
Last Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, while addressing reporters during a press briefing, indicated that such a proposition would not be easy but could potentially be done. She said that the administration is “exploring a range of options” and that “we feel if we can get it done, that would be a great step forward and beneficial to the people of Cuba.”
At this point, it seems that the U.S. could be working on a solution that would allow Cubans to gain access to the internet. If it works, the technology could conceivably be employed in other nations with authoritarian regimes. However, we cannot simply take the Biden administration at its word. It is also possible that the White House is blowing smoke to assuage the concerns of those who wish to see change in Cuba. It is appropriate, in this instance, to take a “wait and see” approach.