Gov. DeSantis, Florida lawmakers call for more action in Cuba

Less than a week into major demonstrations concerning Cuba some changes are already underway.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Less than a week into major demonstrations concerning Cuba some changes are already underway.

With rallies in Jacksonville over the past few days, protests have also erupted in Tampa Thursday along with Miami. Demonstrations are also appearing in places like Las Vegas all with the chant of “Free Cuba.”

News4Jax spoke with Florida leaders who seem eager to support that cause.

Cuba’s capital city of Havana is only 90 miles south of Florida’s Key West island.

The White House said President Joe Biden is “taking a look at relations with Cuba,” but Florida lawmakers want more action.

“We’re not in support of a dictatorship and we shouldn’t be. But we are in support of humanity,” said Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat.

Lawson said he supports the people pushing for better conditions.

The Cuban government responded Thursday by lifting customs restrictions on food, medicine and hygiene products.

There have been chronic shortages in stores but this change will stay in place until the end of the year.

Republican Senator Rick Scott wants more done.

“Here’s what I believe about what will happen. If the world community knows what the Castro regime is that they’re killing their own citizens they’re detaining their own citizens...their citizens don’t have basic rights,” Scott said. “I think the world community will show up. And I think the Castro regime will be caught, or they’ll change, one or the other.”

How can Florida play a role?

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state could help restore internet service to Cuba and on Wednesday he called on the White House to decide quickly.

MORE | DeSantis urges Cuban military to overthrow government

“The one thing that communist regimes fear the most is the truth,” DeSantis said. “And if we’re able to help Cubans communicate with one another also communicate to the outside world. That truth is going to matter that truth, I think will be decisive.”

In addition to food shortages, Cubans have been protesting the lack of medicine.

The country reported its record number of COVID-19 deaths on Thursday and continues to see a spike in cases.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.