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Tags: Cuba | florida | cuba | crist | biden | desantis | christ

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist Wants Direct Financial Aid for Cuban People

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist Wants Direct Financial Aid for Cuban People
Rep. Charlie Crist (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 16 July 2021 05:23 PM

Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is asking the administration of President Joe Biden to send direct financial aid to the people of Cuba amid unrest and protests against the Castro-era communist regime of President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

''We cannot turn our backs on the Cuban people fighting for freedom,'' the former Florida Republican governor, now turned Democrat, said in a post on Twitter Friday. ''I’m encouraging the Biden administration to send aid directly to the Cuban people, prevent weapons shipments to the Communist government, and lead the free world in supporting Cubans’ push for freedom.''

Running as a Democrat, Crist, who held the governor’s seat as a Republican from 2007-12 before switching parties, is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022, according to The Hill.

Thousands of Cubans protested the 62-year-old communist regime with demonstrations in the streets of the capital Havana as well as other cities starting last weekend.

Protesters chanted ''freedom'' and other slogans opposing the Diaz-Canel government and decried the country’s economic slide, causing the regime to send in troops to quell the protests, CNN reported.

In a televised address, Diaz-Canel blamed United States sanctions for the economic problems and subsequent protests.

On Monday, President Joe Biden issued a statement expressing his support for the people protesting.

''We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,'' the July 12 statement said.

''The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.''

The administration, however, has been silent on what kind of help it may, or may not, render to the people of Cuba, except to possibly use technology to allow access to the internet after the Diaz-Canel regime shut it down during the protests.

The U.S. Department of State said it is still evaluating how best to help the people.

"We are considering any number of ways and we have considered any number of ways to support the Cuban people — that is, to support them, their humanitarian needs; it is to support them in their broader efforts to secure greater degrees of liberty and freedom and human rights. But I don’t have anything specific to offer at this time,'' State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a July 14 press briefing.

According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. currently spends about $15 million annually in Cuban aid for the nation of 11.3 million people.

USAID sends $9.3 million, and the U.S. State Department sends the remaining $5.5 million annually, which is then spent with about $6 million going to bolster human rights, and $1.2 million to encourage democracy in the communist country.

Another $1.2 million goes to the agency’s operating expenses, and another $230,000 to ''other social infrastructure services.''

The USAID classifies Cuba as a ''middle income nation,'' with a GDP of $84.81 billion in U.S. dollars annually, which breaks down to $7,480 per person, according to the agency.

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Politics
Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is asking the administration of President Joe Biden to send direct financial aid to the people of Cuba amid unrest and protests against the Castro-era communist regime of President Miguel Diaz-Canel. ''We cannot turn our backs on the Cuban people...
florida, cuba, crist, biden, desantis, christ
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2021-23-16
Friday, 16 July 2021 05:23 PM
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