- Miami’s Republican mayor said the US should consider taking military action against Cuba.
- His comments came as Cuba saw mass anti-government protests this week.
- The US has a poor track record when it comes to military operations against the Communist regime.
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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez on Tuesday suggested that the US should explore the option of air strikes against Cuba.
“What should be contemplated right now is a coalition of potential military action in Cuba,” Suarez, a Republican, said in comments on Fox News. Suarez, whose father was born in Cuba and was formerly mayor of Miami, pointed to US interventions in Panama and Kosovo as potential models to follow.
When asked if he was calling for air strikes in Cuba, Suarez said, “What I’m suggesting is that option is one that has to be explored, and one that cannot be just simply discarded.”
Between the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion and CIA-supported assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, the US has a poor track record when it comes to mounting successful military or covert operations against Cuba’s Communist government.
-Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) July 13, 2021
Suarez’s remarks came after Cuba on Sunday saw the largest anti-government protests in years, with thousands demonstrating against a lack of freedoms and a growing economic crisis under Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the Communist regime. South Florida has the largest population of Cuban Americans in the country, and Miami in recent days has seen demonstrations in solidarity with the anti-government protestors in Cuba.
President Joe Biden on Monday said the US fully supports the protestors, but his administration is facing pressure on both sides of the aisle to do more.
While Republicans urge Biden to take a more hardline stance against Cuba’s authoritarian government, a number of Democrats have called on the president to lift the decades-old trade embargo and rescind Trump-era sanctions and restrictions that have contributed to medicine and food shortages in the island nation.
-Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) July 14, 2021
-Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 13, 2021
Former President Donald Trump reversed the Obama administration’s efforts to open up diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba, tightening the embargo that has been the centerpiece of US policy for six decades.
Suarez on Tuesday defended the embargo, saying: “I don’t think the embargo is cruel at all. I think the Cuban people aren’t asking for a lifting of the embargo. They’re going out on the streets every single day talking about the failure of the communist regime to provide for its people … It has failed for six decades.”
Critics of the US embargo on Cuba contend that it’s failed to foster democratic changes, hurts the Cuban people, and has for years served as a convenient scapegoat for the failings of the Communist government.
In 2016, then-President Barack Obama called on Congress to lift the embargo.
“It is an outdated burden on the Cuban people,” Obama said during a visit to Havana. “It’s a burden on the Americans who want to work and do business or invest here in Cuba. It’s time to lift the embargo.”
But Biden’s policy toward Cuba so far has been cautious, and has effectively marked a continuing of Trump’s approach to the island nation.