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Republican presidential candidates remember Cuba's historic July 11 protests on second anniversary

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Francis Suarez, and Ron DeSantis remembered the second anniversary of the Cuban protests that shook the country on July 11. 

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Francis Suarez, and Ron DeSantis
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Francis Suarez, and Ron DeSantis | Shutterstock

July 12, 2023 9:03am

Updated: July 12, 2023 9:03am

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paid tribute to the Cuban people on the second anniversary of the historic  protests that shook the country on July 11.

In a statement, Former President Trump urged for the release of the political prisoners and protestors that are still being held captive by the “evil regime,” adding that he prays for the day “when all of Cuba will be free.”

He also criticized the Biden administration for "betraying the Cuban people" and handing over the island to China, after the Asian country built a military base in the island, only 90 miles from the shores of the United States. 

“Biden not only risks our own national security, but he abandons the dream of freedom for those many amazing Cuban Americans who under my administration, were going to get their wish,” Trump said.

Similarly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recalled his appeal to President Biden two years ago, when he urged him to support the Cuban protesters and to take a firm stance against the communist dictatorship on the island. For the anniversary of the protests, DeSantis stated that Florida continues to support the struggle for freedom in Cuba.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez stressed the importance of the protests of two years ago, calling them the largest demonstrations in search of freedom that have taken place in Cuba. He regretted the current administration's lack of response and support for the Cuban people's pleas for help. He also expressed his hope that the island could soon taste freedom.

“The largest protest for freedom in Cuba began two years ago today. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration ignored their pleas for help. As President, I would have a message to the oppressors of Cuba—freedom is coming!” Suarez tweeted. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the U.S. Government "stands in solidarity with those in Cuba who continue to long for a free democracy where their voices are heard, their businesses prosper and their children can achieve a brighter future."

The Secretary of State stressed that the Biden administration has sanctioned the Cuban regime for its actions against the protesters. He also made a "call for the immediate release of unjustly detained political prisoners and urge the international community to join us in demanding that the Cuban government release the hundreds of students, journalists, artists, youth and others unjustly imprisoned."

However, the Biden administration has been strongly criticized for its permissiveness with the Castro dictatorship.

In July 2021, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to take part in a historic protest, where they expressed their discontent with the economic situation on the island and the restrictions imposed by their government in response to the pandemic. The people marched with slogans such as "We are hungry," "Down with the dictatorship," and "Freedom."

In response to the widespread protests, the regime arrested at least 1,860 participants, according to Justice 11J, a group that has been monitoring and compiling information on arrests related to public protests in Cuba.

While several of those detained for their involvement in the protests have opted for exile, hundreds of others remain detained on the island.