DeSantis says he wants to provide internet access in Cuba to get around government shutdown – Miami Herald

Cuban riot police walk the streets after a demonstration against the government of President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021.
Cuban riot police walk the streets after a demonstration against the government of President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021. YAMIL LAGE AFP via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he wants Florida companies to provide Internet connection to residents in Cuba, as the island entered its third day of massive protests amid widespread internet shutdowns that have hindered the flow of information.

“What does the regime do when you start to see these images? They shut down the internet. They don’t want the truth to be out, they don’t want people to be able to communicate,” said DeSantis during a roundtable with Republican lawmakers and members of the Cuban exile community in Miami.

“And so one of the things I think we should be able to do with our private companies or with he United States is to provide some of that internet via satellite. We have companies on the Space Coast that launch these things,” he added.

Without providing details on how to turn on remote hotspots to give Cubans WiFi connection, DeSantis added he would make some calls to “see what are the options” to make it happen.

During the roundtable at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, DeSantis was joined by Lt. Gov. Jeannette Nuñez, and Republican U.S. Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez.

“Everyone here is in agreement in all of these fundamental truths and one of those truths is the people who are out in the streets revolting are not complaining about a lack of vaccine or for some tangential issue,” said DeSantis. “They’re revolting against a corrupt, communist dictatorship that has ruled that island with an iron fist for over 60 years.”

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Bianca Padró Ocasio is a general assignment reporter for the Miami Herald. She has been a Florida journalist for several years, covering everything from crime and courts to hurricanes and politics. Her bilingual work telling the stories of the Puerto Rican community in Central Florida has been previously recognized by the Florida Society of News Editors and the Florida Sunshine State Awards.