Post # 181, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
"Trump can call the Democrats Socialists in Miami, But Biden can deliver Cuba life or death internet service."
I have never been to Havana, Cuba. But part of my Senate district in Florida in the 70's and '80's included Little Havana also known as Calle Ocho or 8th street in downtown Miami. I was very proud to represent the Cuban population in Miami, and was called to help the Governor during the tense Mariel Boatlift in 1980. One of my best friends today is prominent Cuban Architect Willy Bermello.
So it was interest that I watched the recent demonstrations in Cuba and Miami about Communist dictators still ruling the Island 90 miles from Key West. Castro is dead, but his family control of Cuba carries on.
Among the every day conveniences denied Cuba is simple internet access. It is widely believed that denial is strategic and intentional to control the citizens. But apparently, the Biden Administration can get the internet connected in Cuba. But it will take a real commitment by the Biden Administration.
Cubans have been using a censorship circumvention tool, "Psiphon," to access websites. It has been slow and unreliable, but it has sufficed until now. The U.S. could also deploy high altitude balloons engineered by Google to connect the internet in Cuba. The mega sized balloons act as connecting towers for access. These were used in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, as well as in Peru and Kenya. So it can be done.
The U.S. already a vital technology source in Radio Marti and it can be incorporated with other U.S. government technology in Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, and State Departments in an over all integrated strategy to get internet services into Cuba. But it will take time, coordination, and money. For entrepreneurs, that is a population of 11.3 Million with pent up demand for services, products, safety, and vital communications. So there is upside beyond the critical freedom for Cubans.
Former President Donald Trump and even Florida Governor Ron DeSantis can spread false rumors about socialism on Miami streets in the 2024 Presidential election. But for President Joe Biden, getting the internet restored in Cuba is the right thing to do and will speak volumes about our support of freedom in the country 90 miles away.