WASHINGTON — U.S. lawmakers are continuing their calls to support protesters in Cuba following one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in the island’s recent history.
How the Biden Administration ultimately responds could have an impact in Florida, still considered a battleground state in 2022 and beyond.
What You Need To Know
- Biden administration still reviewing Cuba policy
- Expert does not expect Biden administration to change much from Trump administration
- Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Havana on Sunday
- RELATED: Biden on protests in Cuba: 'We stand with the Cuban people'
“The United States stands firmly with the people of Cuba,” President Joe Biden said Monday.
As thousands of protesters took to the streets in Havana, the Biden Administration is facing pressure to clarify its position on Cuba policy.
“The Biden Administration may be pressed to move forward the timeline to complete and announce the results of their Cuba policy review,” said John Kavulich, the president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.
Kavulich said he doesn’t expect the administration will make any major changes. The Trump Administration enacted some of the toughest economic measures against Cuba, and so far President Biden seems reluctant to lift them — even though former President Barack Obama pushed to normalize relations with the island nation.
“It’s doubtful that he is going to do anything that is Obama-esque,” he said.
"The Biden-Harris Administration stands by the Cuban people and people around the world who demand human rights and expect governments to listen and serve them,” Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, said during a State Department briefing on Monday.
The White House said they are monitoring the protests but gave no indication if they are considering a change in policy.
He does not support the approach of the government of Cuba,” said Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary. “In terms of where it ranks in a priority order, I am not in a position to offer that,” she added.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, a prominent voice in the Cuban-American community, criticized the Biden Administration for suggesting the anger in Cuba was about rising COVID-19 cases and not about opposition to the dictatorship.
It’s a strategy that could have political motivations.
“The Republican Party is going to continue to do what it has done, tying the Democratic party to friends of socialism, friends of communism,” Kavulich said.
How the Biden Administration decides to handle this situation ultimately could have a lasting impact in Florida.
“Florida is the foundation for all U.S. policy south of the Mason-Dixon line,” He said.
“They are looking at Cuba policy, just as they are looking toward Venezuela, policy toward Nicaragua. In terms of the calculus for Florida, not only in 2021, but 2022, and 2024.”
During the next three years there are going to be elections in not only Brazil in 2022, but we also have Nicaragua this fall and then in 2024. We have not only the U.S. presidential election, but we have the presidential election in Venezuela and in Cuba. So, you take all of that,” he said.