Miami mayor says Biden should consider AIRSTRIKES on Cuba

Mayor of Miami says Biden should consider AIRSTRIKES on Cuba in support of Havana dissidents as anti-communist protesters in the US shut Miami freeway and Russia and China warn US NOT to interfere

  • Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said on Tuesday that military options in Cuba ‘should be considered’  
  • Cuban government launched crack down on protests after large-scale demonstrations erupted on Sunday
  • Images on social media prompted Cuban Americans to take to the streets in support of the protesters 
  • Russia, China, and Iran on Tuesday issued statements warning US not to interfere in Cuban internal affairs 
  • Hundreds of Cuban Americans showed solidarity and blocked a major highway in Miami on Tuesday 
  • Anti-communist protests by Cuban Americans also seen in New York, Washington, DC, Texas, and New Jersey 

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the 43-year-old Miami-born lawyer whose father was the first-ever Cuban-born mayor of the South Florida city, told Fox News on Tuesday that the option of military air strikes ‘has to be explored.’

The Mayor of Miami has said Joe Biden should consider airstrikes on Cuba in support of Havana dissidents as supporters took to the streets in cities across the US on Tuesday to show solidarity with anti-communist protesters. 

Talk of possible American military action in Cuba prompted warnings from Iran, Russia, and China on Tuesday.  

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the Kremlin ‘stressed the inadmissibility of foreign interference and other destructive actions that are fraught with the destabilization in Cuba.’

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing said ‘the US embargo is the root cause of Cuba’s shortage of medicines and energy.’ 

‘China firmly opposes foreign interference in Cuba’s internal affairs, firmly supports what Cuba has done in fighting COVID-19, improving people’s livelihood and upholding social stability, and firmly supports Cuba in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. 

Iran, which has also faced economic sanctions imposed on it by Washington, echoed the sentiments of Russia and China.

‘In this situation, where the United States is primarily responsible for the many problems created for the Cuban people, it is trying to appear as a supporter of the Cuban protests and has tried to interfere in the internal affairs of this country in a blatant violation of international rules,’ Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Tuesday.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the 43-year-old Miami-born lawyer whose father was the first-ever Cuban-born mayor of the South Florida city, told Fox News on Tuesday that the option of military air strikes ‘has to be explored.’

Cuban-Americans attend a demonstration to support the protesters in Cuba. They are seen above blocking the Palmetto Expressway in Miami, Florida on Tuesday

The large group gathered at a busy Miami intersection chanting support for the Cubans, who had taken to the streets in the communist nation Sunday to air grievances about poor economic conditions and other complaints

In Tampa, Cuban Americans took to the streets to express solidarity with protesters back in their native land on Tuesday

Demonstrators hold placards during a rally held in solidarity with anti-government protests in Cuba in New York City’s Times Square on Tuesday

Members of New Jersey’s Cuban community gather for a rally calling for the liberation of the Cuban people in North Bergen, New Jersey on Tuesday

Demonstrators protest the Communist government in Cuba while waving flags and banners outside the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday

A Cuban police officer on Tuesday blocks the passage in the areas surrounding the Capitol in Havana after a government crackdown on demonstrators 

‘What should be contemplated right now is a coalition of potential military action in Cuba, similar to what has happened… in both Republican and Democrat administrations,’ Suarez said.

He then referenced the 1989 American invasion of Panama under President George H.W. Bush and US-led NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War in 1999.

‘They deposed Noriega and that country had peaceful democracy for decades… And President Clinton in Kosovo, intervening in a humanitarian issue with air strikes.’

Cuban Americans gather in the Little Havana section of Miami on Tuesday to denounce the Cuban government

Demonstrators in Miami (above) waved Cuban flags and chanted slogans in support of anti-government protesters on the island

Cuban American protesters in Miami (above) waved flags and carried signs denouncing the government in Havana on Tuesday

South Florida is home to the largest US population of Cuban Americans. The image above shows a protest in the Little Havana section of Miami

Cuban Americans attend a demonstration to support the protesters in Cuba, blocking the Palmetto Expressway in Miami

The image above shows protesters blocking the Palmetto Expressway in Miami on Tuesday

Suarez later told the Miami Herald that he was not advocating for air strikes or any other form of military intervention, though he did say that policymakers should consider using the military in some capacity.

‘I’m not a military expert,’ he said.

‘I’m not going to sit here and opine on what kind of military intervention should be used.’

Meanwhile, Cuban authorities confirmed on Tuesday that one person has died during demonstrations that have shaken the island in recent days by protesting over food shortages, high prices and other grievances against the government.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, died on Monday during a clash between protesters and police in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality on the outskirts of Havana.

Carlos Herrera, a member of the Permian Basin Cuban community, waves a Cuban flag during a demonstration in Odessa, Texas

Maikel Villega waves a Cuban flag in Odessa, Texas on Tuesday as he leads a demonstration in support of the widespread protests across Cuba

Protesters in Odessa, Texas hold up signs and flags of Cuba while calling for the government in Havana to be toppled

It said an unspecified number of people were arrested and there were some people injured, including some officers.

The statement accused demonstrators of vandalizing houses, setting fires and damaging power lines.

It also alleged they attacked police and civilians with knives, stones and other objects.

Demonstrations that erupted Sunday have seen thousands of Cubans in the streets voicing grievances against shortages of goods, rising prices and power cuts, and some protesters have called for a change of government.

Havana still had a heavy police presence Tuesday, with officers particularly guarding key points such as the Malecon coastal promenade and the Capitol. Internet and cellphone data service continued to be disrupted.

There were no reports of new protests, which the government has sought to blame on Cuban Americans using social media to instigate unrest in Cuba.

A Cuban American in North Bergen, New Jersey is seen above attending a march as the community reacts to reports of protests in Cuba

Hundreds of Cuban American expatriates turned out for a rally in North Bergen, New Jersey to denounce the government in Havana on Tuesday

Cuban Americans wave Cuban and US flags during a demonstration on Tuesday in North Bergen, New Jersey

A member of the Cuban American community wears a flag as he peers out over a demonstration in North Bergen, New Jersey on Tuesday

The demonstrations in several cities and towns were some of the biggest displays of antigovernment sentiment seen in years in tightly controlled Cuba, which is facing a surge of coronavirus cases as it struggles with its worst economic crisis in decades as a consequence of US sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

In the United States, demonstrators expressing solidarity with the thousands of Cubans who waged a rare weekend of protests around their island nation shut down a stretch of a major South Florida expressway Tuesday.

The large group gathered at a busy Miami intersection chanting support for the Cubans, who had taken to the streets in the communist nation Sunday to air grievances about poor economic conditions and other complaints.

A few miles away, hundreds of supporters gathered for hours Tuesday evening at a park. The peaceful crowd waved flags and cheered on the efforts of island protesters.

Flavia Pérez, 16, was brought to the United States at age 1.

She joined the rally at Tamiami Park, saying, ‘I’m here to support young Cubans on the island so they have the same opportunities as I have in the US.’

South Florida is home to the largest US population of Cuban Americans.

News helicopter footage from broadcaster WTVJ showed demonstrators earlier Tuesday marching to Miami’s Palmetto Expressway, where many blocked traffic in the afternoon.

Elsewhere, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis held a round table with elected officials, including members of Congress.

The gathering at Miami’s American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora was closed to reporters, but the governor later asserted that protests in Cuba were more than just about shortages of vaccines, food and other basic items. 

Police in Tampa block off Dale Mabry Highway during a protest against the Cuban government on Tuesday

Cuban Americans wave Cuban flags as they block Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa on Tuesday

Protesters hold banners and signs and wave Cuban flags during a demonstration in Tampa on Tuesday

A Cuban American protester holds a sign that reads ‘Long live free Cuba’ in Tampa on Tuesday

Cuban Americans rally against the communist regime in Havana during a demonstration in Tampa on Tuesday

Tampa police look on as people wave Cuban and American flags in Tampa on Tuesday

The image above shows a police officer looking on during a protest by Cuban Americans in Tampa on Tuesday

Cuban Americans wave flags of their native land during a demonstration in Tampa on Tuesday

‘They are revolting against a corrupt communist dictatorship that has ruled that island with an iron fist for over 60 years, that is responsible for death and destruction, not just on the island of Cuba but really throughout the Western Hemisphere,’ DeSantis said at a news conference.

He said the demonstrators desire ‘a free society.’

Nationwide protests last year under the Black Lives Matter movement drew attention to racial injustice in the US after the killings of black people by police.

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed into Florida law a measure that enhances penalties against protestors who turn violent and allows criminal penalties against those who organize protests that turn violent.

DeSantis dismissed similarities between Black Lives Matter and Tuesday’s demonstrators.

‘These are people that are rebelling against a communist dictatorship,’ the governor said.

He said the demonstrations in Miami were ‘fundamentally different than what we saw last summer.’

DeSantis, who is said to be considering a run for the White House in 2024, declined a direct response when asked how Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration should handle Cuba policy.

But he said federal officials shouldn’t be satisfied with small Cuban government accommodations designed to quell demonstrations.

Republican US House Rep. María Elvira Salazar, the daughter of Cuban exiles, said the community needs to speak with one voice urging the Biden administration to stand tough against the Cuban government.

‘We cannot negotiate with the regime at this hour,’ Salazar said.

The image above shows demonstrators waving Cuban flags during a rally in New York’s Times Square on Tuesday

A demonstrator holds up a sign during a protest against the Cuban government in New York’s Times Square on Tuesday

Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard in Miami has been monitoring for any ‘unsafe and illegal’ crossings between Florida and Cuba in response to rare street protests on the island.

Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones issued a warning statement Monday night as groups of Cuban immigrants said they planned to travel in boats filled with supplies to Cuba to show support for the Cuban protesters.

In Miami, Cuban social media personalities posted Monday that they would make the 10-hour boat ride to Cuba to show support after rare street protests broke out over the weekend, the Miami Herald reported.

The influencers said they would bring aid — and guns — and urged people in Miami to offer up their boats.

One group gathered Monday night at a marina and people brought cases of bottled water, flashlights and boxes of canned pasta, the newspaper reported.

‘Water, food, medicine, whatever we can take to Cuba. Whatever we can take to help is good,’ organizer Dennis Suayero told WSVN.

The group didn’t get very far Monday night.

A message posted on organizer Santiago Rivera’s Instagram account early Tuesday said the Coast Guard stopped his group from traveling.

Over the weekend, thousands of Cuban Americans gathered in Miami’s Little Havana in support of Cuban street marches against high prices and food shortages on the island.

Such unsanctioned protests are extremely rare, and Cuban police were out in force Monday to control them.

The last such demonstrations in Havana took place in 1994. President Miguel Díaz-Canel accused Cuban Americans of using social media to egg them on.

Suarez tweeted that he has never ‘felt such raw emotion from the people of Miami desperate for intervention by the government and by themselves on behalf of Cuba.’

Miami wasn’t the only Florida city where demonstrators gathered.

For a second day, Cuban-Americans in Tampa gathered Tuesday at an intersection, blocking traffic and waving Cuban flags.

Like the group in South Florida, Tampa demonstrators attempted to gain access to Interstate 275, but police held them back.

Television images showed dozens of protesters in a city that traces its Cuban heritage back generations.

Orlando also had hundreds of protestors blocking a busy street for about an hour Tuesday evening. 

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