Florida Rep. Val Demings (D) and the Rubio campaign are once again at odds over Cuba. Over the weekend, the Democratic senatorial hopeful introduced a bill that would push for internet freedom in the island. However, the Rubio campaign, which has often criticized Demings for being silent regarding foreign policy, is now accusing Demings of having copied “Rubio’s strong proposals to help the people of Cuba… one year late.”
On Friday, Demings announced that she would be joining Massachusetts Rep. Bill Keating (D) in introducing the Internet Freedom Rapid Response Act of 2022. The bill provides money to strengthen the availability of the internet in countries stricken by censorship such as Venezuela and Cuba.
In a news release, Demings commented that “the technology funded under this initiative allows users cost-free access to social media and other messaging services, even during government-controlled internet blackouts,” adding that “this is a concrete response against censorship technology which is being sold by Russia and the Chinese Communist Party to other autocrats.”
“From Cuba to Venezuela, Belarus to Russia, this initiative will support ordinary people in their struggle for freedom,” she noted.
However, the Rubio campaign is criticizing the former Orlando police chief over the bill, releasing a statement that, stated, “before Val Demings announced her run for Senate, she didn’t take any interest in the plight of the Cuban people under the oppressive Communist regime. Now that she has a vested interest in appealing to Cuban-Americans in Florida, Demings is finally taking action – an entire year after the July 11thanti-Communist regime protests – and copying Marco Rubio’s legislative efforts to do it.”
In the statement, Laura Ortiz, the Hispanic Media Director for the Rubio campaign, further criticized Demings, arguing that she “has shown Cuban-Americans in Florida that she only cares about the issue when it’s politically advantageous.”
“Demings introduced a bill that replicates the objective of Rubio’s PATRIA Y VIDA Act, and it is evident she recognizes his unparalleled leadership in the fight for the Cuban people,” Ortiz added.