Governor DeSantis warns Floridians against ‘kleptocratic plan’ allowing US investment in Cuba

Govt. Ron DeSantis slap the president that of Joe Biden for overturning sanctions on Cuba and warning Floridians against investing in the island nation’s so-called private sector, a move he says will benefit the ‘racketeers’ who run the country, not its entrepreneurs .

DeSantis announced on Friday that he was leading the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and Business Florida to issue an alert warning Floridians “not to let Cuba’s communist regime steal their money through a recent scheme to attract foreign investment for the ‘non-state sector'”.

Under Cuba’s communist regime, Cubans have no means of mobilizing investment to improve their situation, a Press release from the governor’s office said.

“For the past year and a half, the Biden administration has rolled back U.S. sanctions against Cuba and has failed to help the Cuban people in their fight for freedom,” the statement said.

“It encouraged the racketeers who run the Cuban regime to launch a kleptocratic agenda claiming they would welcome American investment in the island’s supposed private sector, but foreign investment is meaningless when there is no is no property rights for Cuban citizens and when the Cuban government limits to which ostensibly private companies will be allowed to receive foreign funds.

Any money sent to those in Cuba ‘will inevitably end up in the pockets of (former Cuban president) Raul Castro(current president) Miguel Diaz-Caneland the rest of the Cuban Mafia who will use this money to further enrich themselves, impoverish their people and further destabilize the Western Hemisphere,” the statement read.

On July 11, 2021, the the biggest demonstrations in decades against the Cuban regime erupted across the island as people flooded the streets amid food and medicine shortages, a record rise in COVID-19 infections and demanding ‘libertad’ – the freedom – of more than half a century of totalitarian control.

As the Cuban government cracked down on its citizens, rallies supporting the protests erupted across the United States. There were also marches to Washington demanding more action from Biden, who announced new sanctions targeting “elements of the Cuban regime responsible” for the crackdown on protesters.

In the days and months that followed, DeSantis and other Republicans — many of whom hail from South Florida, home to the nation’s largest population of Cuban Americans — castigated the president and others, including Pope Francisfor their mixed responses.

DeSantis was among Biden’s earliest and most vocal critics of the US response to the protests in Cuba. Just two days after the protests began, the Governor held a round table at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami to demand that the Biden administration ensure continued internet access to the island so that Cuban citizens can continue to share information with supporters around the world.

He spoke alongside Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick ScottAmerican representatives. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida, as well as several other GOP members of Congress and elected leaders from South Florida. They all agreed that it was time for strong actionbut they gave few details on what Biden could do beyond helping Cubans maintain an internet connection.

Now more than a year since the protests – and about six months since Cuban authorities handed down sentences of up to 30 years to 128 anti-government protesters, some of them minors – the Biden administration has lifted several donald trumpRestrictions imposed on Cuba at the time, including on travel to the island, non-family remittances, and caps on family remittances and immigration visas.

The administration has also opened the door to U.S. investments in Cuban businesses, the first of which, a cash injection of up to $25,000 into a private Cuban services company, received U.S. Treasury Department approval on May 10. .

A Statement of May 16 of the United States Department of State indicates that other investments of this type could follow.

“We will encourage the growth of the Cuban private sector by supporting greater access to American Internet services, applications and e-commerce platforms,” ​​the statement said. “We will support new avenues for electronic payments and for U.S. business activities with independent Cuban entrepreneurs, including through increased access to microfinance and training.”

Months before the July 2021 protests, the Cuban government announced that it allow private companies to operate in most industries, a major shift in the country’s state-controlled economy, spurred by a plummeting economy and a national commodity shortage.

It’s a ruse, according to DeSantis, who said Biden was putting Americans at risk of being cheated by playing into the deception of the Cuban regime.

“The weak policies of this administration have led the regime to attempt to perpetrate financial fraud against the American people under the guise of private investment opportunities,” he said in a statement.

“Only when Cuba allows free elections, stops jailing people in the middle of the night for simply saying they want human rights and guaranteeing the private property rights of its citizens will the American people will be convinced that the money sent across the strait will really benefit the Cuban people and not the racketeers who run their regime like a mafia”.

Added Lieutenant Governor. Jeanette Nunez, “The same regime that deprived Cubans like my parents of their livelihoods is now desperately begging Americans to ‘invest’ in the island. This scheme is nothing more than a scam that deceives only sympathizers of the Biden administration.

DeSantis’ comments did not go uncritically. In an article published Saturday on the Web, the United States-Cuba Economic and Trade Council — a non-profit commercial organization whose president, John Kavulitchcreated the company authorized in May to invest in a Cuban company — took aim at DeSantis’ business expertise and messaging, which he called unconstructive and unoriginal.

“DeSantis’ livelihood was provided by the taxpayers,” the group said, adding that the governor had “no experience in the private (or) entrepreneurial sector — nothing in the public domain regarding his attempt to start a company, its success, its failure, etc.

The group noted that the majority of remittances, flights and packages to Cuba, as well as unauthorized investments in businesses on the island, came from Floridians, many of whom were of Cuban descent. Rather than “repeating the author(s) of editorials published by The Wall Street Journal … and The Washington Times“, the group said, DeSantis should have suggested guidelines by which the Cuban government could operate to engender trust and build accountability.

These guidelines, the group said, could include a clear and practical list of regulations for the provision of investment and financing to private companies in Cuba, uniform regulations for all private companies and the requirement that all monetary transactions are carried out through a direct correspondent. bank to ensure that funds move directly, efficiently, and transparently from the United States to Cuba and back in the form of dividends, profit sharing, and loan repayments.

“His advice could have been constructive -” My message to the Díaz-Canel-Valdes-Mesa administration in Havana is that if Cuba wants a private sector, and I’m not convinced they do, (that’s ) no longer an add-on to them, but if they do, then the process for receiving direct equity investment and direct funding for the private sector in the United States – individuals and businesses – must be transparent, must be simple to understand, must be equal for all, and taxes and fees must be fair in order to allow profits to be reinvested, to be repatriated and to benefit first and foremost the owners (of micro, small and medium enterprises) and their employees rather than further supporting the government’s misguided decisions,” the group said.

“The State of Florida is a magnet for entrepreneurs – Cuba should follow our lead.”

The group offered no recommendations on how the United States might apply the proposed rules.

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