The Biden Administration Says Cubans Are Not Welcome. Where’s the Outrage?

People shout slogans against the government during protests against and in support of the government in Havana, Cuba, July 11, 2021. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

It’s impossible to ignore that Cubans often are treated differently.

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It’s impossible to ignore that Cubans often are treated differently.

I n November of 2020, Joe Biden’s Havana-born nominee for Department of Homeland Security secretary, Ali Mayorkas, promised to “oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones.”

Less than a year later, amid a popular uprising in Cuba, Mayorkas made a volte-face, telling those seeking refuge from Haiti and the communist nation, “You will not come to the United States. . . . Again, I repeat, do not risk your life attempting to enter the United States illegally. You will not come to the United States.”

As far as I can tell, there was no performative outrage from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or any of her progressive cohorts over the United States shutting its doors to the downtrodden. There are no overwrought analogies made between U.S. immigration policy and the MS St. Louis by Democrats. There is no grandstanding reading of “The New Colossus” from CNN hosts.

Even as Biden gave his perfunctory statement about the United States standing with the “Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom,” a senior State Department official was framing protests — in which some unfurled American flags and many chanted “We want liberty” — as unhappiness over “rising COVID cases/deaths,” using puerile activist rhetoric about “mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need.” Collectivist-induced shortages are not an outlier. Every neighborhood is in need.

It’s impossible to ignore the fact that Cubans are often treated differently. Perhaps it’s because a sizeable number of them — having first- or secondhand experience with socialism — vote Republican, and progressives are interested only in future Democrat voters.

After all, President Barack Obama not only ended the embargo on Cuba; he overturned the “wet foot, dry foot” policy instituted under President Clinton in 1995, which allowed Cubans refugees who reached U.S. soil to stay and become permanent residents. There is a genuine debate over the morality of policy that incentivizes refugees to put their lives in danger (Cubans deserve to make that choice), and it is also true that the Cuban regime has taken advantage with mass expulsions of people in a bid to retain power, as it did with the Mariel Boatlift. Obama, though, legitimized the regime by visiting Cuba, allowing himself to be filmed underneath a mural of the mass murderer Che Guevara. He took in a baseball game with the dictator Raúl Castro as FARC terrorists cheered in the stands. Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known as Antúnez, who spent 17 years in Castro’s gulag, called the U.S. policy “a betrayal of the aspiration to freedom of the Cuban people.”

Even today, former Obama officials such as Ben Rhodes, the same people who chose the mullahs over the Iranian Green Movement, offer ugly moral equivalencies between the totalitarian regime and the “cruel US embargo.”

Of course, fellow travelers have been praising communist Cuba for decades (as Humberto Fontova has exhaustively detailed). “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?” Bernie Sanders, the most consequential politician in the nation right now, told 60 Minutes only last year. His comment was in response to queries about a lifetime of Castro shilling. “Cuba has solved some very important problems,” Sanders said in the 1980s after visiting the nation. “I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people. Cuba today not only has free health care but very high-quality health care.”

Weird. All that free health care, and every year thousands are still willing to risk their lives to escape.

Though you’ll probably never hear an official blame “communism” — much less “socialism” — for Cuba’s woes. Biden officials will regularly claim that “climate change” is fueling the refugee crisis on the border. One of the president’s first acts was to incentivize mass migration by overturning the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which compelled those seeking asylum to wait in their home country while their cases were being heard. Yet, if you happen to be a Cuban attempting to flee Castroist thugs on a rickety boat — by any definition, a true asylum seeker — Biden will send you back home.

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