Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, slammed President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for leadership that is “completely absent” during the protests in Cuba.
A story with a link from WBFS-TV Miami was posted on Twitter by Sen. Ted Cruz that reported the Department of Homeland Security has warned South Florida residents to not take part in a flotilla to Cuba planned to assist freedom protesters on the island.
“The American leadership ought to be standing with those who are oppressed and standing up for freedom,” Cruz argued on “Varney & Co.” on Thursday.
The Republican senator made the comments two days after Cuban authorities confirmed that one person has died during the protests over food shortages, high prices, and other grievances against the government.
The demonstrations in Havana and other communities around Cuba marked some of the biggest displays of anti-government sentiment in decades.
On Thursday, Cruz also called out the “rampant hypocrisy” of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ announcement on Tuesday that those fleeing Cuba or Haiti by sea would not be allowed into the U.S., while illegal immigrants have been able to gain entry into the country due to the Biden administration’s immigration policies, which Cruz argued created a “crisis” at the southern border.
The only immigrants Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don’t want to come to America are Cubans.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 20, 2021
“It is illegal for boaters to depart with the intent to travel to Cuba for any purpose without a permit,” a DHS advisory stated Thursday, according to the report.
The report further noted, “DHS said in the advisory that any boater intending to enter Cuban territorial waters must get permission from the U.S. Coast Guard. Violators risk facing fines of $25,000 a day and 10 years in prison, the advisory said.”
Those who bring foreign nationals into the country illegally could be fined up to $250,000 a day and five years in prison, the department stated, according to WBFS.
The DHS statement comes at a time when the U.S. southern border is being swamped by illegal immigrants drawn by the Biden administration’s lenient policies.
Flotilla organizers hoped to have 100 boats involved to support the Cuban protesters, WBFS reported.
Cruz also released a statement Thursday in support of the Cuban freedom protesters.
“This battle for freedom is personal to me. When Fulgencio Batista staged a coup in Cuba and became a brutal dictator in the 1950s, my father fought against his regime. My dad was imprisoned and tortured. His captors broke his nose and bashed in his front teeth until they were dangling from his mouth,” the senator said in the statement, which was also delivered on the Senate floor.
“My father fled Cuba, the country he had fought for and had been brutalized trying to save, and in 1957 came to the United States — he came to Texas — with $100 sewn into his underwear. He had nothing,” Cruz added.
The statement later noted, “America must respond. Over the past few days, the world has seen that the American people stand squarely with the men and women of Cuba in their noble fight for liberty.”
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, whose parents immigrated from Cuba, has also supported the Cuban freedom effort. He introduced a Senate resolution on Thursday to stand with “the courageous Cuban people.”
Sen. Rubio introduced a Senate resolution (S. Res. 303) in support of the courageous Cuban people as they lead historic protests throughout the island against six decades of repression and tyranny from the Castro & Díaz-Canel regime. #SOSCuba #PatriaYVidahttps://t.co/PBM9DP9psl
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) July 15, 2021
“The Cuban people are courageously standing up for their freedoms after 62 years of subjugation under a communist dictatorship,” Rubio said in a statement.
“This is truly a historic moment, and one that as a Cuban American I’m proud to witness. The people of Cuba have made their voices clear. We must stand in support of the Cuban people’s ongoing efforts to live in a nation free from tyranny and censorship.”
The resolution included 23 additional GOP senators, including House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“My hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, is home to one of the largest Cuban American populations in any American city outside Florida. In recent days, this vibrant community has rallied by the hundreds in support of the Cuban protestors,” McConnell said in the statement.
McConnell added, “The brave men and women who have taken to the streets in Cuba are demanding freedoms they’ve been denied all their lives.
They deserve our strong support. I’m proud to be co-sponsoring a new resolution with Senator Rubio and several other colleagues to communicate precisely that.”