New Cold War? Lawmakers Disagree on Opening Up Relations With Cuba

New Cold War? Lawmakers Disagree on Opening Up Relations With Cuba

“We have to really think through our diplomacy and how we’re gonna move forward.

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
June 14, 2024

Is the world on the brink of the next Cold War? Some seem to think so as Russian combat ships have made their way to Cuba. Earlier this week, a fleet of Russian warships ventured into Cuban waters ahead of a planned military exercise in the Caribbean. The news has signaled concern in the Western Hemisphere, and now lawmakers are speaking out. From questioning the nature of the United States’ relationship with Cuba to calling for a stricter response, Florida lawmakers are concerned about the growing tension.

In an exclusive interview with The Floridian, Florida Reps. Maxwell Frost (D), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D), Carlos Gimenez (R), and María Elvira Salazar (R) shared their thoughts on the recent news regarding the Russian warships.

Rep. Frost, who called the event “scary,” warned that it’s a moment where Russia is “trying to show teeth.”

Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick
Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick

“We want to make sure that we don’t get to this place where we’re just playing this game of escalation, and we’re back into some kind of Cold War scenario, which I’m sure Putin would love to go down that road," said Rep. Frost.

Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick added that the United States should rethink its relationship with Cuba. Citing that its currently “isolationist” approach has led to Russian warships touching base in Cuba, it could be a sign that things must change.

“We have to really think through our diplomacy and how we’re gonna move forward,” she said. “It’s a very complicated situation.” “We’ve had this isolationist, or pushing this total ban when it comes to Cuba, but now with the Russian ships there, do we intensify it? Or do we start entertaining another conversation?”

Rep. Gimenez vehemently opposes this estimation, noting instead that “the Cuban government is never gonna give up power.” Because of this, “you can open up all the trade that you want,” but “at the end of the day, the Cuban government will continue to be a communist regime that oppresses its people.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez
Rep. Carlos Gimenez

The Florida Republican called this an opportunity for the country “to be strong.”

“You have to stand up for the Cuban people, which is standing up against the regime," Rep. Gimenez added.

Rep. Salazar echoed in his remarks, calling on the Biden Administration to send a message to the Russian and Cuban governments.

"They're going to be there until the rest of the year. They're teaching the Cubans how to shoot missiles... Why are the Russians there." Salazar questioned.

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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