A Democratic state lawmaker in Florida used the Cuban protests to blast an anti-riot bill signed in April by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
Rep. Omari Hardy (D-FL) — a member of the Florida House of Representatives — claimed that the Cubans protesting their communist government would constitute an “aggravated riot” under DeSantis’ bill to combat public disorder.
As DeSantis explained, the legislation “strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished.”
“I support the Cuban people as they take to the streets & let their voices be heard & do everything they can’t do in Florida without it being labeled an ‘aggravated riot’ under Ron Desantis’s anti-protest law,” Hardy replied to a tweet from DeSantis supporting the Cuban protests.
I support the Cuban people as they take to the streets & let their voices be heard & do everything they can't do in Florida without it being labelled an "aggravated riot" under Ron Desantis's anti-protest law.
— Rep. Omari Hardy (@OmariJHardy) July 12, 2021
“A state legislator in Florida believes that Cuba is more free than Florida,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw retorted.
A state legislator in Florida believes that Cuba is more free than Florida. https://t.co/slSNIA3rkH
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) July 12, 2021
“You think people in Cuba are ‘allowed’ to protest in the street? No they aren’t, that’s why their communist regime is killing them,” she added. “If you think Cuba is more free than Florida, you are free to leave.”
Over the weekend, protests in several dozen Cuban cities began in response to rampant poverty and lack of civil liberties caused by the island nation’s communist regime. Many chanted “Liberty” and “Freedom” while waving the American flag. On Sunday evening, the regime cracked down on the protests, reportedly inflicting violence on the unarmed protesters and restricting internet access.
However, leading American progressives — such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — were silent on the matter. Likewise, the Biden administration claimed that the protests primarily arose due to lack of access to COVID-19 treatments rather than continuously worsening communist oppression.
“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,” commented Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. “We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need.”
Christian Ziegler — Vice Chairman of the Florida Republican Party — responded: “Well… I will be adding this gem into my GOP stump speeches across Florida. May even need to print it out when I visit Southeast Florida.”
“They were already heading this way, but Democrats just ceded Florida for the foreseeable future.”