By Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11)
Right now, online and across television screens, we see the light of freedom finally breaking through on the communist island of Cuba. For over sixty years, this nation, sitting only 90 miles from our shore, has been oppressed by the worst impulses of a rough regime and the failed promises of communist propaganda. The people have had enough. We must stand with the people of Cuba as they fight to finally rid themselves of this hegemon of the oppression of people, enterprise, and ideas this regime has perpetuated for decades. It is past time.
Unfortunately, the Biden Administration is sending dangerous and misinformed signals through both policy and rhetoric. President Biden’s DHS Secretary Mayorkas, who himself is a Cuban refugee, told Cubans attempting to escape persecution and suffering at the hands of a communist dictatorship that they are not welcome in America, remarking that those attempting to flee by the sea “will not be permitted to enter the United States.”
His own acting Assistant Secretary at the State Department remarked earlier this week that the protests were peaceful and rooted only in concerns about rising COVID cases and medicine shortages. This is patently false. The Cuban people are shouting “Libertad” for freedom, waving American flags, and rising up to finally demand independence and autonomy over their own lives.
While the Administration downplays the severity of the crisis in Cuba and pledges to turn away Cuban refugees, President Biden has simultaneously thrown open our southern border. He is welcoming cartels, coyotes, and copious amounts of dangerous drugs by repealing Trump-era strong-border policies, proposing budget cuts to critical agencies like CBP and ICE, and publicly blundering any attempt at closing our southern border. Since President Biden’s Inauguration, federal agents have encountered more than 170,000 illegal migrants on the southern border every month, not to mention enough fentanyl to kill every American four times over.
Why has the Biden Administration chosen to turn their backs on freedom-loving Cubans? Why are those who are fleeing a communist regime where defectors are silenced or shot and every day citizens are starving to death not welcome in our country?
Radical leftists, and even some mainstream democrats, have been reluctant to denounce the communist regime, choosing to drag their feet and stay silent instead of lending support to the pro-democracy movement on the island and those brave enough to stand up.
Is it because the truth does not fit their agenda? Are they afraid that Americans and onlookers around the globe will see the failed Petri dish experiment in communism that is Cuba? That Americans will recognize the dangerous slippery slope of the socialist utopia they promote?
Massive government control over societies simply does not work. Cuba is showing us in real-time how quickly a communism collapse will spiral into deadly conditions of poverty, starvation, and hopelessness—causing enough desperation that Cubans will risk their lives to paddle across treacherous waters on homemade rafts to reach the shores of America.
In Congress, I serve on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. I have heard the stories first-hand of a people yearning to be free. Over the recent decades, Cubans have escaped from the regime for the freedom and opportunity of the United States. We all know Cuban Americans who have set down roots in our communities. Each loves being an American. Each warns us of the misery they escaped.
The truth is clear. The United States remains the beacon of freedom and democracy around the world, and we must do everything within our power to support and defend those valiantly standing up for liberty, and we must do it at home.
Instead of throwing the doors open to drug and human traffickers on our southern border, President Biden must take decisive action to bolster the pro-democracy movement and support the brave Cubans fleeing communist oppression.