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Supporting Cuban Protests While Criticizing Biden — Rudy Giuliani's Brief Miami Appearance

Rudy Giuliani speaks at a press conference outside Versailles restaurant in Miami
Natalia Clement
Rudy Giuliani speaks at a press conference outside Versailles restaurant in Miami

As the #SOSCuba movement continues to grow around the world, many politicians and public figures have made their way to Versailles restaurant in Little Havana to show their support.

This week, on the 68th anniversary of the birth of Fidel Castro’s revolution, one more high-profile face stopped by — Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor, and ex-lawyer to President Donald Trump, recently had his law license suspended due to his role in the Trump campaign’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

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About a dozen people, most of which were wearing gear in support of the former president, waited patiently outside of the famous Cuban restaurant to hear Giuliani’s thoughts on Cuba’s fight for freedom.

He began by addressing the first day Cubans protested openly, both on the streets and online, against their government.

“July 11, 2021 is going to be a very important date in the history of Cuba in liberating itself from atheistic, homicidal communism,” said Giuliani. “And a very important date in the history of liberty and freedom for all of us because communism is a threat to all of us.”

Giuliani then condemned Americans who “fall for the communist propaganda” that Cuba is a good country to live in. He also took a jab at the American press, saying the majority of news outlets “buys every propaganda excuse the communists put out and reprints it.” He said that Cuban people aren’t protesting because of the embargo or COVID-19.

“Do you see any sign saying give me a vaccine?” Giuliani asked the crowd. “How many signs say give me freedom? How about Cuba libre? Cuba libertad!”

Although the Cuban government’s vast shortcomings in the pandemic response influenced the protests, many on the island have made it clear that they are seeking freedom and a better quality of life.

Giuliani then shifted his focus to President Joe Biden’s response, claiming that Biden took four days to respond following the initial protests in Cuba. He called the administration “an express train to socialism.”

“If the president of the United States can’t speak up for freedom clearly, succinctly and with great strength, then he isn’t a real president,” Giuliani said.

However, the president released a statement only one day after, on July 12, which stated that “the Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights” and “the United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”

One of the attendees was 31-year-old Gelpi De Luz, a fourth generation Cuban American. She said it was a wonderful experience to see “America’s mayor keeping the American dream alive” by supporting Cubans.

Gelpi De Luz, 31, holding a purse that reads "Trump Won" as she listens to Rudy Giuliani.
Natalia Clement
Gelpi De Luz, 31, holding a purse that reads "Trump Won" as she listens to Rudy Giuliani.

“There’s no discrimination on who communism kills, and him addressing that, Giuliani is the best,” she said. “ I feel that seeing him here really backing up the Cuban people and encouraging the president to do the right thing, is a beautiful thing.”

De Luz said she agrees with Giuliani’s claims that Biden and the Democratic party are leaning towards socialism ideals. She added that America got comfortable with the idea that we had a communist dictatorship 90 miles away that we couldn’t do anything about.

“But now our family members from Cuba are saying ‘don’t send us anything … we want our freedom.’ That’s what my cousins were telling me not long ago,” De Luz said.

She applauded Cuban journalists who aren’t afraid to share the situation on the island with the rest of the world.

The short press conference quickly ended with the small group of supporters thanking Giuliani as he was escorted out by police. Giuliani had one more stop in Little Havana — Padrón Cigars.

While smoking a cigar, Giuliani said there’s a lot of things the current administration can do before considering military intervention, including providing internet service to the island. Many Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, support this idea.

The White House released a statement last week that the government is actively collaborating with the private sector to ensure that the Cuban people have safe and secure access. However, a recent report by Quartz indicates that it would be a complicated task.

He added that the United States should always help those seeking freedom, but that we “have an extra obligation to our neighbors.” Giuliani said it was appropriate to prioritize Cuban immigrants over other nationalities based on their need for political asylum.

“We are not at war with poverty worldwide. We’re not at war with every dictatorship that exists,” said Giuliani. “We are at war with communism. We don’t send people back to communism.”

Natalia Clement is a freelance journalist and former summer intern for WLRN, South Florida’s public radio news outlet. She enjoys producing multimedia content that covers community news and current topics of interest.
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