On Sunday, protests in Cuba erupted as citizens took to the streets over a lack of food, medicine, and other necessities under the brutal regime of the Cuban government. In response, social media was flooded with calls for support (many under the hashtag #SOSCuba) and several major media outlets took notice of what was happening.
The problem is that this is a moment when the American government should take notice, and it largely seems to have ignored it. You had politicians like Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis release statements, as well as other Republicans, but the party in power was all but silent.
A quick scan of Twitter showed only two statements. The first was from an acting assistant secretary of some relatively obscure office in the State Department.
Peaceful protests are growing in #Cuba as the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages. We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need.
— Julie Chung (@WHAAsstSecty) July 11, 2021
This statement seems a bit foolish, however, given that the protests are not about COVID cases and the medicine shortages only. This is a long-festering discontent among the Cuban people at the oppressive nature of their government. What’s more, there is no “right to peaceful assembly” in Cuba. The closest they get is Article 56 in their most recent constitution, which states:
The rights of assembly, demonstration, and association for legal and peaceful purposes are recognized by the State whenever they are exercised with respect to public order and in compliance with the precepts established by the law.
Unlike the U.S. constitution, the Cuban government absolute has the authority to shut down a protest if they simply deem it as illegal. Your right to protest is based on the whims of the state, not the whims of your God-given rights.
The second statement from anyone in the Biden administration came hours later, this time from his National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan.
The U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights. https://t.co/FjI8bUHoQE
— Jake Sullivan (@JakeSullivan46) July 12, 2021
This reads almost like a clarification/walk-back of the original statement, as it doesn’t refer to COVID-19 at all, and simply states that they will condemn any action taken against the protestors. Not exactly motivational.
I assume that at some point today (if not by the time this column publishes), Biden’s office will release a statement and it won’t deviate too far from Sullivan’s statement. The Biden administration will be far too nervous to take any sort of strong position against the abuses of the Castro regime in Cuba, and they certainly won’t openly oppose a communist dictatorship. But, this is actually a problem for Biden and the Democrats.
In 2020, there was a noticeable surge of Latino support for Donald Trump in Hispanic strongholds across Florida and Texas. This surprised a lot of pundits and reporters at the time, and it made some wonder what in the world was going on. Apparently, the reason that well over one million Cuban immigrants have come to America is just something Democrats can’t grasp.
As the Democratic Party supports, allies itself with, and even mimics a lot of the policies the communist governments across Latin American governments, those voters decide they can no longer support that party. So, they shifted to the Republican party in a big way in 2020 because the Trump administration’s policies created record low unemployment for minority groups like Hispanic Americans and supported many socially conservative policies that the often deeply religious demographic also supports.
But with the Biden administration in thrall to the farthest of the far left, they can’t or won’t see that they have to do something to try and win those votes back. Like so many other issues, they are just refusing to learn from their mistakes.