In the last 72 hours, thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets, in an unprecedented protest against the worsening economy and lack of freedom on their island nation. Mass arrests, clashes with police and tear gas have followed — along with demonstrations of support from sympathetic Cuban Americans in Miami.
The situation now has set the stage for certain political rivalries in the U.S. which could have significant repercussions in the near future. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is providing leadership on the Cuba crisis while President Biden “is missing in action,” wrote Nick Arama, a contributor to RedState.com.
“Cuban Americans in Florida have been out in the streets, rallying on behalf of their brethren in Cuba. They’ve been calling on Florida and the United States to help the Cuban people. While Joe Biden has said that he would ‘stand with the Cuban people,’ it’s not clear that he’s actually doing anything at all to back up those words,” Mr. Arama said.
“Some folks in Florida tried to organize boats to go to Cuba and provide help but the U.S. government was discouraging that,” he continued, adding that Mr. DeSantis is now striking “all the right notes” by meeting with neighborhood leaders and publicly stating his objectives.
“I had a good discussion with leaders in the Cuban-American community about the communist dictatorship’s crimes against the people of Cuba. We stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba and we are united in our support of their right to choose freedom over the communist regime.” Mr. DeSantis tweeted Wednesday.
In an interview with Fox News, he also suggested that U.S.-based tech companies on Florida’s “Space Coast” could provide internet service via satellite to Cubans — and he vowed to personally seek out the options for the plan.
The popular governor’s political rivals, meanwhile, continue to attack him, a strategy which could tarnish their image as the countdown to the 2022 midterm election continues.
“Democrats seem more concerned about scoring one on DeSantis than they are about helping the Cuban and Cuban American people. And that’s not going to go over well in Florida,” RedState’s Mr. Arama observes.
There is some practical outreach elsewhere, in the meantime.
The Republican National Committee hosted a bilingual press call Wednesday with Latin American democracy activists to discuss the evolving situation in Cuba and the Republican efforts “to promote and defend democracy in Latin America.”
A REALITY CHECK
President Biden’s aggressive speech Tuesday framed Republican voter ID laws As a “domestic threat and a form of “21st-century Jim Crow.” Mr. Biden overlooked the fact that these laws are meant to decrease voter fraud and increase the security of those precious votes — and thus the accuracy of the big count once the polls close.
But wait. It is important to note the findings of a National Public Radio/PBS Newshour/Marist College poll of 1,115 U.S. adults conducted June 22-29 and released July 2. The survey revealed that 79% of U.S. adults think voters should be required to show a government-issued photo ID whenever they vote; 94% of Republicans, 83% of independents and 57% of Democrats agree. So did 81% of nonwhites and 78% of Whites.
Shifting voting patterns also push back on the idea that voter ID laws are a negative influence in society or the political process itself.
“Former President Donald Trump made historic gains with certain groups during the 2020 election cycle. By the time the results were in, the Republican picked up 6 percentage points among Black men, 5 percentage points among Black and Hispanic women, and 4 percentage points among Hispanic men,” points out Jordan Davidson, a staff writer for The Federalist.
The British Broadcasting Corporation also noticed this positive outcome.
“It means some voters changed their minds, after either not voting or voting for another candidate in 2016,” BBC noted in an analysis with a pertinent headline: “U.S. election 2020: Why Trump gained support among minorities.”
SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS
“Vaccine passport firm says system could be ‘redeployed’ as a national ID card,” reported The Telegraph on Wednesday, offering the details of this potential metamorphosis of a simple medical card to a more serious form of identification.
The British news organization pointed out that previous identity card plans were “scrapped” in Britain after there was a public outcry over the “intrusive nature of the scheme and its impact on human rights.”
Official attitudes appear to be changing.
“Who could have seen this coming, besides everyone?” asks Glenn Reynolds, founder of the Instapundit political blog — who suggests that the new, more accepting attitude toward a national ID card among ID manufacturers and even the public could migrate across the pond to the U.S.
“This is Britain. But I’m sure people are thinking the same thing here,” Mr. Reynolds says.
FOR THE LEXICON
Green-minded thinking has arrived in space. WISA Woodsat is the name of a miniature, cube-shaped satellite, set to be launched by Finland from a base in New Zealand later this year.
The “nanosatellite” measures a mere 4 inches on all three sides and is made of birch plywood — specifically a brand called WISA, which is manufactured by UPM, a Finnish paper mill.
The tiny, economical space vehicle made a 3-hour test flight 19 miles above the Earth in June — launched from a balloon. The Woodsat also took a picture of itself using a built-in selfie-stick.
A serious inaugural flight for the spacecraft is scheduled for November.
POLL DU JOUR
• 24% of U.S. adults who have received the COVID-19 vaccine say they now feel “safe” after being vaccinated.
• 22% say they have experienced “relief” after getting the vaccine.
• 10% feel “no different” or neutral.
• 9% get an overall positive feeling, 6% feel “great or good”
• 5% feel a sense of freedom; 5% no longer worry about “getting COVID” or dying from it.
• 3% feel more confident now.
SOURCE: A Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 632 U.S. adults who have gotten a vaccine, conducted June 15-23 and released Tuesday.
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