Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) issued a statement Thursday night in which she expressed support for the Cuban people and decried "anti-democratic actions led by" Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, while also calling for an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba which she described as "absurdly cruel."
"We are seeing Cubans rise up and protest for their rights like never before. We stand in solidarity with them, and we condemn the anti-democratic actions led by President Díaz-Canel. The suppression of the media, speech and protest are all gross violations of civil rights," Ocasio-Cortez said in the statement.
But then the Democratic lawmaker who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019 went on to say that the embargo should be eliminated and to claim that "cruelty is the point" of the embargo.
"We must also name the U.S. contribution to Cuban suffering: our sixty-year-old embargo. Last month, once again, the U.N. voted overwhelmingly to call on the United States to lift its embargo on Cuba. The embargo is absurdly cruel and, like too many other U.S. policies targeting Latin Americans, the cruelty is the point. I outright reject the Biden administration's defense of the embargo. It is never acceptable for us to use cruelty as a point of leverage against every day people," she declared.
"Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government's inhumane treatment of Cubans, and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo. This cruel and inhumane policy, instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans' right to choose their own government, is at the heart of Cuba's current crisis. Since 1962, the United States has forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine and supplies, costing the tiny island nation an estimated $130 billion," the statement began.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is a child of Cuban immigrants, said in a tweet Thursday that socialism, not an embargo, is to blame for Cubans' suffering.
"The U.S. is the largest provider of food to #Cuba & each year sends $275 million in medicine & $3 billion in remittances to relatives," the senator tweeted. "The suffering in Cuba isn't because of an embargo,it's because socialism always leads to suffering."
In another tweet, Rubio shared an image of an article titled, "After widespread protests, Cuban government lifts restrictions to import food, medicines."
In his tweet, Rubio commented: "Wait… #Cuba had restrictions on importing food & medicine? How can that be? All week long the national media has been reporting it's the US embargo restricting food & medicine to Cuba. There is just no way these fine journalists would fall for the regimes spin that easily."