The Biden administration's actions toward Cuba in the wake of the communist government's arrests and mass trials as a response to widespread protests for liberty are ''meaningless,'' Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told Newsmax on Monday.
The two-term Republican said Biden, who on Thursday used a federal human rights law to punish Alvaro Lopez Miera, minister of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces, and a brigade in the government's intelligence ministry, essentially repeated sanctions levied by the Trump administration.
''It's like one of those three life sentences that people get, you know, the one is enough, and it's already covered by it,'' Rubio said on ''Spicer & Co.'' ''And so that's what we're facing here. It's symbolic.
''The problem is the Biden administration is getting its policy advice on Cuba, apparently, from a bunch of people in Miami, the same that who were in Havana and 2015, drinking mojitos at the bar at the government-owned hotels and celebrating with John Kerry, the opening of our embassy. And these are people that have long favored sort of an engagement with the regime over there.''
Protests erupted throughout the Caribbean island July 11, with thousands marching through the streets waving American flags and calling for ''Libertad'' [Liberty].
The government responded with countless arrests and reports of mass trials for ''public disorder.''
Rubio, whose parents fled Cuba before Fidel Castro's takeover, said the Biden administration has largely responded with platitudes, but little if anything substantive.
He believes the U.S. government should be looking for ways to improve communication on Cuba, so the citizens can organize and get more information out via the internet.
''If we made the Wi-Fi at the U.S. Embassy in Havana open and a lot of people in Havana to use it. Could it not be relayed then throughout the island?'' he said. ''There's actually a capability. Cubans are pretty innovative and creative. That's just one aspect.
''The other is using these radios that, they would have to be stronger than the ones that were used in Puerto Rico, because it can't be over Cuban airspace, but could that be used at least to expand internet access in times of crisis?
''And the third is that, you know the VPN [virtual private network] subscription service for about $1 million. You can do three months of VPN coverage for Cubans who sign up for it and use it so they can evade some of these filters that are being put up and keeping them from accessing Instagram and social media and Facebook — the ways they're sharing these videos with the world, and they're talking to each other about political change in Cuba.''
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