MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A coalition of South Florida mayors held a meeting Saturday morning to discuss the current situations in Haiti and Cuba.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez stood on the podium shortly after 10:30 a.m., joined by 9 other mayors from the League of Cities, including Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.READ MORE: Man's Remains Found In Shallow Grave Behind Miami Gardens Home
“We are here united as one voice and as one group and we are going to be focusing on things that we want from the US government,” said Suarez.
Watch: South Florida mayors gather to urge President Biden to step up
“The first thing that we agreed as a coalition of mayors is that the internet is a critical need in Cuba. Mayor JC Bermudez articulated very, very eloquently when he said that you cannot have sovereignty in a country without liberty.”
“And you can only have liberty if people have the ability to express themselves. And one of the things that we’re seeing is the Cuban government choking, the ability for its people to be able to get images out of the brutal repression that is happening every single day in Cuba.”
“So we are imploring the United States to do everything in their power, everything to get much-needed, reliable internet access into the island.”
Suarez asked the Biden administration to hold top Cuban officials, including generals, accountable for the repression on the island.
“The second thing that we agreed was that the Cuban military and that is specifically individual members of the Cuban military, that carry out the orders of the Cuban government and repress the Cuban people and beat the Cuban people and harm the Cuban people that the United States of America do everything in its power to ensure that they will be met that those actions will be met with serious and severe consequences, whether they be prosecutions, whatever stream of consequences the United States in its broad array of powers can bring to bear on on these actors who are systematically beating their own people,” said Suarez.
Mayor Levine Cava said she had written a letter to President Biden asking him to take measures to help the people of Cuba and Haiti.
“Yesterday, I sent a letter to President Biden, and I called upon him to listen to the voices of our community, our community is uniquely positioned as the closest to those islands as the one that has benefited from the Diaspora from those two nations as the one that stands in solidarity, fighting for the well being of the people and the freedom for those people,” she said.
“We say to you, Mr. President, we need you to step up. We need you to do what other administrations have not done. We need you to listen to our voices and take concrete actions to protect our neighbors to protect our shores to protect the human Cuban and Haitian communities here in Miami Dade, and everyone who stands united.”READ MORE: Gov. DeSantis Said Florida Would Take Control Of Disney's Special Taxing District
She continued by saying, “We need your help with communication. Free communication is essential to both of these countries during these difficult times. We need you to make sure that the voices of people in those countries are heard that they are not squelched and that human rights are honored in both of these countries. We need your help to promote stability for the people of Haiti who have been for so long, fighting for better leadership. And in Cuba, we need you to stand with us to demand liberty and freedom for those fighting for 62 long years. So we’re here we’re ready to receive you were ready for the conversation and we’re ready for your action.”
Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime of North Miami spoke about Haiti.
“Today is a day for actions, not talk, because we’ve been talking forever. Cuba is still the way it is and Haiti is still the way it is.”
“The country has been in chaos, when it comes to Haiti for the past three years, and the US government is responsible for that. Today, we urge the Biden administration to step up and engage in a dialogue that’s gonna lead to a new government with a new First Minister.”
“That’s what we need, not talk. Action and we want the Biden administration to pay more attention on what’s going on in the region.”
Mayor Suarez talked about what is needed now.
“We need US leadership in the region, now.”
“We have seen that Russia and China are not afraid to intervene in conflicts in their own region, and have continually intervened in our region. And, you know, it’s scary to think that the United States is taking such a passive approach when those countries are taking such an active approach.”
Mayor Levine Cava called what is happening an ‘international crisis’ and urged the US to take the lead.
“This is an international crisis beyond the borders of these two islands and the United States. It is not only a Caribbean response that is needed but a hemispheric response that is needed. We are all affected. And we need to move together. And we need the United States to take the lead.”
“I want to end with this. These are not just attacks on Haitians and Cubans. These are attacks on Americans. This is an attack on our country, and we need to treat it as such,” said Mayor Levine Cava.MORE NEWS: Miami Police Locate Missing Woman 68-Year-Old Gwendolyn Spencer
Other mayors in attendance:
Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County
Mayor Juan Carlos Bermúdez, Doral
Mayor Omarr Nickerson, El Portal
Mayor Michael Davey, Key Biscayne
Mayor Anthony DeFillipo, North Miami Beach
Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime, North Miami
Mayor Yioset de la Cruz, Hialeah Gardens
Mayor Karyn Cunningham, Palmetto Bay
Mayor Joseph Corradino, Pinecrest
Mayor Joshua Fuller, Bay Harbor Islands