MIAMI - On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent a letter Wednesday to President Joe Biden, asking for federal assistance in getting internet access to people living in Cuba.
Internet in the communist country was reportedly shut off to suppress recent protests and dissent.
"I write to urge you to assist in providing Internet access to the people of Cuba standing up against communist oppression and demanding a voice after decades of suffering under the yoke of a cruel dictatorship," he said in the letter.
DeSantis told the president that technology exists to give internet access to Cubans remotely and pointed out the US took similar action during the Cold War, broadcasting radio into the Soviet Union.
Then on Thursday, the Governor met with Miami officials and leaders to address the unrest in Cuba and once again pushed for President Biden to establish internet for the people of Cuba.
"We are seeing on the island of Cuba, people fighting against the communist dictatorship. It is a noble cause, Free Cuba is a noble cause," DeSantis said. "We obviously have to stand with the people of Cuba against the communist dictatorship."
He explained that, "one of the most effective things we can do as a country – and we need President Biden to step up and make this happen… we can be able to be helpful to getting internet back on the island of Cuba. The one thing that communist regimes fear the most is the truth."
The Governor then added, "If we're able to help Cubans communicate with one another and be able to communicate with the outside world, that truth is gonna matter. I think that truth will be decisive. So, Mr. President, now is the time to stand up and be counted."
He pleaded to President Biden, "this is the time to stand with the people who are seeking freedom from a brutal 62-year reign of communist oppression. And we are happy to do whatever we can on a state-level to assist the effort. This is not something that is as easy as saying, next minute it will be on, but we can absolutely do it if we get quick movement out of the White House.
Governor DeSantis also wants Florida-based companies to assist in these efforts. On Tuesday, he suggested that they help provide Cuba with internet. He said he would reach out to providers to establish a plan to make this a reality and believes every option should be explored, including using offshore and satellite technology to supply internet service.
For example, one option being considered is using balloons to provide connectivity. The Republican governor also suggested using the U.S. Embassy in Havana as a kind of hotspot.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden called protests in Cuba "remarkable" and a "clarion call for freedom," praising thousands of Cubans who took the streets to protest food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus crisis — one of the island's biggest antigovernment demonstrations in recent memory.
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