SOS Cuba movement is ‘golden’ political opportunity for Biden, experts say

MIAMI – When young Cuban-American protesters showed up at the SOS Cuba protests in Miami-Dade County last week, Fernand Amandi saw a “golden” opportunity for U.S. President Joe Biden and his Democratic party.

The Cuban-American Democratic pollster and other experts have said Biden shouldn’t underestimate the generational political rewards of truly backing the SOS Cuba movement.

“I think this is a historical moment that deserves more than statements,” said Amandi, of Bendixen & Amandi International. “It requires presidential engagement.”

SOS Cuba protesters attend a march and rally on July 15 in Hialeah.

After the July 11 uprising in the communist island, SOS Cuba supporters asked Biden for U.S. military intervention. There were marches, and rallies in Hialeah, Little Havana, Miami Springs, Westchester, Kendall, and other areas of Miami-Dade. The protests also included the illegal blocking of the Palmetto Expressway. Cuban Americans said they weren’t asking for humanitarian aid; they want communism to end.

“I think this is a golden political opportunity that has fallen into the lap of a Democratic president to do what 12 previous U.S. presidents, Republicans, and Democrats alike, have not been able to do and that’s to preside over the liberation of Cuba,” Amandi said.

SOS Cuba protesters march from Versailles to the Freedom Tower on July 14, in Miami.

Sen. Marco Rubio has asked Biden to not change former President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions and to keep Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism again. Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis also asked Biden to help Cubans with improving internet connectivity.

Biden has agreed to look into this. Brian Fonseca, the director of Florida International University’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, believes whatever Biden does may not be enough.

“Unless it provokes a change on the island, then the Democrats are going to look like the losers here because they were unable to affect change in Cuba,” Fonseca said.

SOS Cuba demonstrators of all ages block traffic on the Palmetto Expressway, July 13, 2021, in Miami-Dade. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, the president of the Democracy Movement in Miami, said Biden hasn’t responded to the demands of the SOS Cuba movement with urgency.

“Every minute we lose is a minute that the government has to repress the Cuban people,” Sánchez said.

As SOS Cuba appears to be the beginning of a new movement, a stand against communism also has the potential to end the association between the Democratic party and socialism.

4:30 p.m. report

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About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.