Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Biden administration to support widespread anti-communism protests in Cuba.
Writing for the American Center for Law and Justice, Pompeo noted that the policy of loosening restrictions on the Cuban regime was unproductive under the Obama administration. He urged Biden officials to avoid the same mistakes:
These protests are significant, and how the Biden Administration chooses to respond to them is of paramount importance to Cuba’s future. The Obama Administration, of which much of Team Biden was a part, sought to ease relations with the communist regime. It loosened restrictions on trade, telecommunications, and financial services, all of which made the Castro government and its cronies richer at the expense of the Cuban people. It normalized diplomatic relations with the regime, giving it a legitimacy that it could never have hoped to obtain in previous years. Top Obama officials even attended the funeral of Fidel Castro. And others on the Left, like Bernie Sanders, have even expressed sympathy for the communist regime.
Pompeo also refuted the claim that Cubans are protesting out of concern over rising COVID-19 infections — an assertion that has been affirmed by Biden officials:
They perhaps should be reminded that in Cuba, the right of the people to peacefully assemble is not protected by the government. And protestors to COVID don’t waive American flags and shout “freedom.” The regime did not allow these protests to take place; it was simply caught off guard. Over the past few days, this “right to peaceful assembly” has been brutally and violently suppressed by the Castro regime. The Internet is shut down across the country to ensure protesters cannot communicate. And those protestors injured in the protests by the police are being denied medical care. It’s textbook authoritarian communism.
Pompeo concluded by noting that American leaders ought to affirm the civil liberties of the Cuban people:
The people of Cuba want their God-given rights as human beings respected and honored by their government… They are “not afraid” to fight to ensure their children have a better future, because such an aspiration is an impossibility if the current regime does not change or reform. Such courage in the name of freedom should be an inspiration to all Americans — especially to America’s leaders — and should motivate us to do what we can to ensure the failed Castro regime finally comes to an end.
Several American lawmakers — many of whom are of Cuban descent — are likewise urging the Biden administration to oppose Cuban communism.
Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) proposed a resolution to endorse the Cuban people’s petitions against “the brutal oppression of the Communist dictatorship in Cuba.” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) — a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs — told President Biden that “the United States must stand with the Cuban people who are displaying courage by protesting the communist regime that has destroyed their lives for the last 60 years.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) pressed Biden to offer internet service to the island after the regime began turning off access: “The Cuban people have lost their ability to communicate with one another, and many Floridians born in Cuba have no information on the safety of their loved ones. Equally as important, the world has also lost the ability to see what is happening on the ground as the Cuban people rise in support of freedom.”