Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her fellow outspoken progressive “Squad” House members continue to remain radio silent on social media as of Wednesday regarding Cuba’s violent uprising, ignoring the Cuban protesters’ demanding freedom against the country’s communist dictatorship as they plea for the United States to save them.
Cuba erupted in its largest-scale demonstrations in decades Sunday as thousands of people lashed out at the worsening economic conditions, chanting “Freedom” and “Enough” and called for the resignation of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. The Cuban leader railed against “Miami’s conservative Cuban-American mafia” and “influencers and YouTubers” for fueling the unrest by portraying him as a “tyrant.” During a news conference Monday, Diaz-Canel sought to blame the U.S. government as the “real culprit” for placing the embargo that caused Cuba’s deepening economic woes and threatened to call on “revolutionaries” loyalists to “fight” back the “vulgar criminals” anti-government protesters,
Ocasio-Cortez, who is frequently active on Twitter, tweeted three times Monday — ripped into GOP lawmakers, including House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), for his attacks on Critical Race Theory and Rep. Lauren Boerbart (R-CO), where the progressive claimed the GOP values are to “strip unemployment protections and dismantle any semblance of a public safety net.” On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez shared her question to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who testified before the House Financial Committee and retweeted a Texas Democrat remark on Gov. Greg Abbott’s arrest threat, but didn’t tweet any mention or retweeted any condemnation regarding Cuba.
Other Squad members, including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) have also ignored to speak out or even mentioned the unrest on social media. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who previously defended some of Fidel Castro’s policies, broke his silence late Monday in a tweet blaming the U.S for levying sanctions against the communist island while refusing to criticize the Communist dictatorship.
“All people have the right to protest and to live in a democratic society. I call on the Cuban government to respect opposition rights and refrain from violence. It’s also long past time to end the unilateral U.S. embargo on Cuba, which has only hurt, not helped, the Cuban people,” Sanders tweeted late Monday night.
However, progressive Democrats usually never miss any opportunity to speak out against human rights violations in any part of the world, including those unfolding under authoritarian regimes. In 2019, some members of the Squad expressed concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under Nicolás Maduro, such as AOC, while refusing to condemn the communist dictator. Other Squad members argued against U.S. support in recognizing Maduro’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, including Omar who gave her unwavering support for Maduro while slamming the U.S. intervention in the plagued country.
A handful of progressives Democrats in Congress are currently affiliated as members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), including Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Reps. Cori Bush (D-MI) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). One of the largest socialist groups in the nation, the DSA International Committee, expressed solidarity with the communist regime, emphasizing the term “Revolution” the communist government calls itself while backing the ruling class during “this moment of unrest.”
“DSA stands with the Cuban people and their Revolution in this moment of unrest,” the DSA organization tweeted Monday.
The socialist group also denounced the trade embargo levied against the communist country during the Trump administration and currently remains in effect under the Biden administration, and called for the “end [of] the blockade.”
President Biden refrained from mentioning communism when describing the regime in a statement released Monday that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed that the White House communication team put out the statement in his “voice.”
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights,” Biden said. “Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”
Meanwhile, Republicans slammed Democrats for their failure to take stances against the Cuban regime, noting that Biden’s statement doesn’t “mention communism” or “socialism.”
“I think somebody prepared it for him and put it out,” Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) said in an interview on NewsMax. “I don’t know what the president’s sentiments are on this. The statements that have been attributed to him are rather disturbing. … They don’t mention communism. They don’t mention socialism.”
Gimenez, a refugee from Cuba, noted that Biden’s statements “allude to COVID and food shortages,” a false reason many Democrats and mainstream media state the cause of the unrest and explain that Cubans are actually protesting for freedom.
“Well, the people in Cuba aren’t saying ‘Comida,’ which means food. They’re not saying COVID,'” Gimenez said. “They’re shouting, ‘Libertad! Libertad! Libertad!’ which means freedom, freedom, freedom from 60 years of oppression, 60 years of a brutal regime, 60 years of communism that brings misery to all.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is also of Cuban descent and one of the most vocal critics of the communist government, slammed Biden’s State Department for its “ridiculous” tweet in blaming the cause of the historic unrest on imposed COVID restriction and not the dire economic situation that has plagued the island for over 60 years.
“This is a ridiculous tweet from State Dept. People in Cuba are protesting 62 years of socialism, lies, tyranny & misery, not ‘expressing concern about rising COVID-19 cases/deaths. Why is it so hard for Potus & the people in his administration to say that?” Rubio tweeted.
This is a ridiculous tweet from @StateDept
People in #Cuba are protesting 62 years of socialism, lies,tyranny & misery not “expressing concern about rising COVID cases/deaths”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 12, 2021
Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), who represents a large population of Cubans in the Miami area, demanded the Biden administration “make the internet available immediately” following reports, the communist regime cut off internet access to prevent the world from viewing “how they repress the people.” In another tweet, the Florida congresswoman tweeted an example of the Trump administration helping Iranians in 2019 following the Ayatollah shutting off the internet by ” setting up a secure channel for people to upload videos of the atrocities being committed.”
“When the Ayatollah shut off the internet in 2019, @mikepompeo took decisive action – setting up a secure channel for people to upload videos of the atrocities being committed. The Castro regime has shut off the internet in #Cuba. Where are @POTUS & @SecBlinken?” Salazar tweeted.
Former President Trump issued a reminder of the Biden administration’s reversing his Cuban policies and called on Biden to “stand up to the communist regime.”
“I stand with the Cuban people 100% in their fight for freedom,” Trump said in an email statement released from his Save America PAC Monday. “The government must let them speak and be free! Joe Biden MUST stand up to the communist regime, or — history will remember. The Cuban people deserve freedom and human rights! THEY ARE NOT AFRAID!”
“Don’t forget that Biden and the Democrats campaigned on reversing my very tough stance on Cuba,” Trump added. “Remember when Obama attended baseball games with Castros while they imprisoned, beat, and killed the Cuban people.”