TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Sen. Marco Rubio stirred controversy Thursday after tweeting that he and his office would be ready to help the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization move to Cuba.
The Miami-born lawmaker — whose parents came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1956, two years before Fidel Castro’s victory in Cuba — issued a pair of tweets condemning the Black Lives Matter organization for a statement expressing sympathies with Cuba and condemning American treatment of the communist nation.
My office stands ready to help the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization emigrate to #Cuba— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 15, 2021
The extortionist ring known as the Black Lives Matter organization took a break today from shaking down corporations for millions & buying themselves mansions to share their support for the Communist regime in #Cuba https://t.co/xir94EIJ4X— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 15, 2021
In its statement on its official Instagram, Black Lives Matter urged for the lifting of the U.S. embargo, saying it was cruel and just an aim to undermine Cuban self-determination. In 2018, Reuters reported that the embargo cost the island $130 billion over six decades, according to the U.N.
Black Lives Matter also praised Cuba for working with black revolutionaries in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and South Africa.
It also praised Cuba for sheltering Assata Shakur — legal name Joanne Deborah Chesimard — an American woman and former Black Liberation Army member who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper in 1977. While serving a life sentence, Shakur escaped prison and managed to get shelter in Cuba, where the FBI believes she lives to this day.
Black Lives Matter’s support for the Castro regime stems back years. In 2016, the organization expressed condolences for the death of Fidel Castro, wishing for him to rest in power.
Meanwhile, the U.N. is urging for Cuba to release those arrested in the protests in the past weeks, asking for the communist government to listen to its people.
In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of Chile called for investigation into a protestor death that was confirmed in Havana during the clashes with police.
“I am very concerned at the alleged use of excessive force against demonstrators in Cuba and the arrest of a large number of people, including several journalists,” Bachelet said. “It is particularly worrying that these include individuals allegedly held incommunicado and people whose whereabouts are unknown. All those detained for exercising their rights must be promptly released.
“I deeply regret the death of one protester in the context of protests in Havana – it is important that there be an independent, transparent, effective investigation, and that those responsible are held accountable.”
Bachelet also called for internet access to be restored to the people of Cuba, which was a key component to the anti-government movement.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel initially blamed the “Cuban-American” mafia for manipulating the demonstrators through the internet, but according to the Associated Press, he has since accepted some responsibility for the protests, admitting to government mismanagement in some sectors.