By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There were strong words from Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday at a roundtable discussion at the American Museum of the Cuban diaspora.

DeSantis told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “They are revolting against a corrupt dictatorship of 60 years that has seen death and destruction. These are people who desire a fresh start and free speech. They are not revolting because they want vaccines. We have seen these images of the government shutting down the internet. They are revolting against tyranny.”

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DeSantis called on the Biden Administration to take a strong stance against the oppressive, communist regime that has been using violence against its own people to crush dissent for more than six decades.

Governor DeSantis said, “We stand with the people of Cuba. For far too long, a tyrannical communist regime has oppressed its people and used its power to silence any dissidents. Now, the Cuban people are making their voices heard to demand freedom and an end to this dictatorship.”

“Still, while the Cuban people are showing tremendous courage, the Biden Administration is showing cowardice. The Biden Administration has been weak in its statements, blaming COVID-19, and not mentioning socialism or communism. While the president and his spokespeople issue empty rhetoric, the federal government is inexplicably lifting sanctions in Venezuela. Right now, the Cuban regime is taking the measure of Washington.”

“The people of Cuba are rebelling against a dictatorial government, not seeking minor policy changes that would merely be akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

As DeSantis spoke, demonstrators in Miami protested outside the Versailles restaurant in the pouring rain for a 3rd day, waving flags as passing cars honked horns.

Others took their protest to the Palmetto Expressway, where they blocked traffic and shut it down for a while in both directions between Coral Way and Bird Road.

They showed up in support of the thousands of people who protested all around Cuba on Sunday as Cuban are demanding freedom and more food, basic necessities, and vaccines as coronavirus cases soar.

They are also calling for the resignation of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has been blaming the U.S. embargo and sanctions from this country.

At the Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, Republican State Senator Ileana Garcia, the daughter of Cuban exiles said, “It’s hard what is going on in Cua. They need help now.”

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Another Cuban exile said, “Please support the demands of freedom that the people of Cuba are making.”

Republican Congressman Carlos Gimenez, a former Miami-Dade Mayor, said, “We need to establish more communication inside the country for Cuban people. We also need to assert their ability to access credit. They are broke. They need help and we need to give dissidents support. In short, it’s not about vaccines and food. They want liberty and they are fed up.”

Republican Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar said, “You can not exist with a regime like this that can not provide internet. This is in the hands of the Biden administration. There needs to be one voice for America to help Cubans in the street.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said, “Unfortunately, the young people in Cuba today are fighting for liberty and those fighting for freedom don’t have any arms. They are lucky to have rocks or sticks in defense of the horrible repression in Cuba.”

Meanwhile, at Pelican Harbor Marina, we found some people saying they were going to Cuba. We found a large group of people loading up their boat with water, sodas, and supplies.

“We are going to do what we can to help people there,” said one man on the boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard advises against taking boats to Cua calling the transit “dangerous and unfortunate.”

Between April and October of 1980, 125,000 Cubans emigrated to Miami in the Mariel boatlift.

In the summer of 1994, 35,000 Cubans also emigrated to Miami in the Cuban rafter crisis.

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The elected officials said action must be taken now to prevent another similar wave of Cubans fleeing from their island nation to South Florida.

Peter D'Oench