“It’s huge,” said Sasha Tirador, a senior Miami politician who was briefed on the plans Wednesday night.
“No administration has ever announced that it will hold responsible every individual who violates human rights on the island of Cuba,” she said.
Tirador and others on the call were initially frustrated that Biden did not immediately respond with a response plan for Cuba after the uprisings as Cuban-American Republicans such as Senator Marco Rubio, also a resident of Miami, began to question the determination of the administration.
Conservative criticism of Biden’s response to Cuba has escalated dramatically in recent days, with several high-profile commentators, congressional lawmakers and Republican White House hopefuls in 2024 using the unrest to hammer home foreign policy. administration – while galvanizing the GOP around anti-communist themes.
They also called on Biden to give the green light to a proposal to launch high-altitude balloons to transmit internet access to the island, but the president and administration officials were cold at the idea as they didn’t are not sure it works. Instead, during the call on Wednesday evening, administration officials said they were working on another way to provide Internet access or what are called virtual private networks, or VPNs, to allow Cubans on the island to communicate freely without the regime spying. them.
At about the same time that Miami Democrats were briefed, Fox News’ Sean Hannity came to Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood and devoted his weekday hour-long show entirely to the protests in Cuba, hosting the program in direct from Calle Ocho and featuring guests including Rubio, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Representative María Salazar (R-Fla.).
Accusing the president of “great cowardice,” Hannity asked at one point on the show, “What is the Biden Doctrine?” Fuck the ass of all the lonely dictators in the world?
Administration officials last week began ramping up efforts to craft a plan for Cuba in the wake of widespread anti-government protests in more than 40 towns on the island.
Prior to the protests, Biden’s team made it clear on several occasions that Cuban politics was not a foreign policy priority for the administration. But the protests have made the communist-ruled island nation a hot topic.
On Monday, the Biden administration announced it would form a task force that will review remittances for Cuban families and consider increasing staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
Several people close to the White House confirmed last week that US officials are exploring the use of Magnitsky, which also allows the United States to impose economic sanctions on those suspected of engaging in human rights violations and Corruption.
“Like @POTUS ordered, we will apply severe sanctions to Cuban officials who orchestrated these human rights violations, ”said Julie Chung, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, posted on twitter Thursday, following a meeting with a Cuban human rights activist.
Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Cuban-American Democrat, has been a key figure in discussions with the administration, several people close to the White House have said. Menendez, of New Jersey, called on the Biden administration to maintain strong sanctions against Cuba and to work to build international support against the Cuban regime.
“I think it is important that the administration sends a clear message that violence and repression against peaceful protesters is not only reprehensible, but that it can take action against them,” Menendez told POLITICO. last week.