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Florida politicians respond to protests in Cuba, show support

Tampa Bay, Florida elected officials show support for the Cuban protesters and hope for freedom from dictatorship.
Over 100 people gathered Sunday evening in solidarity with the people of Cuba as they sang, danced and chanted in the streets of Himes Avenue in Tampa. The crowd of mostly Cuban Americans gathered to show their support for the uprising that is occurring in their home country of Cuba.
Over 100 people gathered Sunday evening in solidarity with the people of Cuba as they sang, danced and chanted in the streets of Himes Avenue in Tampa. The crowd of mostly Cuban Americans gathered to show their support for the uprising that is occurring in their home country of Cuba. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Jul. 12
Updated Jul. 12

As thousands of people across Cuba flooded the streets Sunday to demand better access to necessities and protest the decades-old governing system, thousands in the Cuban-American community followed.

In Tampa, about 200 people waved Cuban flags in solidarity with the Cuban protesters, who are making the largest outcry against the Cuban government in decades.

Local elected officials responded to the protests at home and abroad, commending the protesters. Some shared messages from other politicians on social media, while others took the chance to make a direct statement. Here’s what they’re saying.

Rep. Gus Bilrakis, Florida’s 12th Congressional District

“It is timely and appropriate that I am reminded that I attended this briefing on the brutality of the Cuban government, 10 years ago today. The United States stands with the people of Cuba as they fight for freedom!”

Rep. Charlie Crist, Florida’s 13th Congressional District

“The Cuban people have lived under an oppressive dictatorship for over 60 years. Today, thousands across the island decided to take to the streets & protest for freedom and human dignity. We stand with Cubans on the island and in Florida in the fight for a free Cuba.”

Rep. Kathy Castor, Florida’s 14th Congressional District

The Cuban people deserve freedom and human dignity. (Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez): Hear their cries for respect and fundamental human rights! The American people and Tampa families stand with the Cuban people. You are our friends, family and neighbors and we support you!”

State Sen. Wilton Simpson, Florida Senate President

“Floridians stand with the people of Cuba today. May their courage and action bring the freedom, dignity and human rights they have long been denied.”

State Rep. Chris Sprowls, Florida House of Representatives Speaker

“We stand with the people of Cuba in their pursuit of freedom and will always support those who seek their God-given right to liberty.”

Rep. Jackie Toledo, Florida House of Representatives District 60

“I stand with the people of Cuba, even on behalf of my own children who share a Cuban heritage. May democracy be established and oppression be removed.”

Rep. Chris Latvala, Florida House of Representatives District 67

America must stand with the brave Cuban people who are taking to the streets of Cuba to demand their freedom. (And no, Biden Administration they are not protesting to just get covid vaccines).”

Rep. Ben Diamond, Florida House of Representatives District 68

“The Cuban dictatorship has oppressed the people of Cuba for decades and today, they have courageously taken to the streets demanding change. This is a historic moment. We stand in solidarity with the Cuban people & Cuban-Americans in their continued fight for freedom.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor

“Tampa stands with the brave people of Cuba, whose ancestors helped build our community. The fight for freedom and against repression is all of our fight.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott

“The courageous people of Cuba took to the streets determined to regain their freedom and demand the end of the dictatorship. (Raul Castro Ruz) & (Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez) the message is clear: The people of Cuba are not afraid, your time is up!”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

“The dark of night is when the regime in Cuba carries out the abduction of leaders of the opposition to the evil socialist dictatorship. But this is a leaderless, grassroots & nationwide movement. The anger has been building up for months & it’s just getting started.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

“Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana. The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades & is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies.”

Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer

This afternoon I issued a proclamation supporting the people of Cuba in their fight for freedom. Florida is with you”

State Sen. Lauren Book, Senate Minority Leader

“Just one week after Americans celebrated the 245th anniversary of our birth as a nation, the Cuban people took to the streets in their nation — and here in Florida — to demand the same independence from a communist authoritarian regime. I agree with President Biden: it was a clarion call for freedom and relief from the oppressions they have suffered for decades.”

“There is an enormous hunger rising just off the coast of Florida, for opportunity, for medicine, for food, and for basic human rights. Instead of quelling unrest with violence, the Cuban government must yield to the people’s call for freedom.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida’s 1st Congressional District

“I pray I will live to see a free Cuba.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida’s 25th Congressional District

The Cuban people have taken to the streets demanding freedom. The tyranny will use the fiercest violence to suppress them. It is urgent that USA and the international community offer the maximum solidarity to the Cuban people.”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Florida’s 7th Congressional District

“The Cuban people are seeking fundamental freedoms & better quality of life. A House committee just approved $20 mil to support democracy, human rights, civil society, & the private sector in Cuba. Congress should boost this funding to show the Cuban people we’ve got their back.”

Rep. Darren Soto, Florida’s 9th Congressional District

“We stand with the Cuban people both here and on the Island to demand democracy, food, vaccines and freedom!”

Rep. Val Demings, Florida’s 10th Congressional District

“I strongly support the peaceful protesters in Cuba as they struggle for their right to create their own future. I condemn all violent repression of the Cuban people by the current regime. Violence against protesters is unacceptable. Suppression of the free press is unacceptable.”

Rep. Lois Frankel, Florida’s 21st Congressional District

“I support the Cuban people as they stand up for freedom and basic human rights and I condemn any violence against peaceful protestors.”

Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida’s 22nd Congressional District

“I salute the brave protesters in Cuba who march for vaccines, march for food and powerfully march for freedom from tyranny and communism. America stands with the people of Cuba.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida’s 23rd Congressional District

“We stand in solidarity w/ thousands of peaceful protestors all over Cuba who are challenging its repressive regime. May their courage and this historic moment bring about real change.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson, Florida’s 24th Congressional District

“I salute the brave citizens of Cuba who have taken to the streets to demand liberty from an authoritarian regime and economic misery. Let freedom ring!”