For over 60 years, May 20 – the original Cuban Independence Day – has served as a reminder of what was lost in Cuba: liberties that many paid the ultimate sacrifice trying to regain. To this day, the Cuban people remain censored and abused by their own government, while much of the world tragically turns a blind eye.
In April 1961, the Cuban exile troops of Brigade 2506, which included my grandfather, embarked on a failed attempt to free their country from dictator Fidel Castro, who stripped their fellow citizens of their rights.
This group of men bravely attempted to give their homeland, their neighbors and their families the freedom we enjoy in America. This year – and especially on this day – just months after losing two of my grandparents, my heart aches thinking of these heroes and their loved ones who will never see their people freed.
But losing their homes and their country was only the beginning of their story. In America, they found freedom and a better, safer home for themselves and their children.
The story of my family fleeing Cuba is what drives my love of country and liberty. The determination of my grandfather’s generation to fight back and overcome adversity in pursuit of a better future for their children embodies the American Dream.
Cuban Americans like me used to take solace in the fact that, unlike the rest of the international community, American presidents stood up for the human rights and freedom of the Cuban people.
But now an emerging wing of the Democratic Party coddles socialist autocracies like Cuba and cheers on as communism runs amuck in Latin America. What was once a fringe policy position now seeps dangerously into the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
There was a time when Democratic leaders were wise enough to keep the leftist ideologues within their ranks in check. But now the far-left wing of the Democratic Party – led by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who famously praised Castro's "literacy programs" – has taken control of the party’s policy agenda.
Though Sanders has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden – the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee – is embracing much of Sanders’ radical agenda.
Just last month, when Biden was asked if he would return to the failed, Obama-era policy of appeasing the Cuban dictatorship, he quickly responded: "Yes, I would."
Biden’s double-down of President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy is another example of his willingness to sell out America's longstanding commitments to freedom in Latin America, in order to win over the far-left wing of today’s Democratic Party.
In contrast, President Trump has taken decisive action to combat the oppressive regime in Cuba. He has imposed strong sanctions on the Cuban military, which funnels vast swaths of Cuba’s wealth into the hands of the nation’s oppressive leaders and their cronies.
Biden, on the other hand, proposes appeasement – a dangerous proposition.
Obama’s failed policy enriched corrupt officials and enabled human rights abuses in Cuba and also propped up other socialist dictators in Latin America. This resulted in conflict, famine and mass migration across the region.
The Nicolas Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, supported by Cuba, is harboring Hezbollah terrorists. These actions are not only a threat to the security and welfare of the region; they threaten the well-being of Americans.
Recently Biden has attempted to pivot and adopt a tough-on-Cuba stance in preparation for the 2020 election, but this bears little resemblance to his actions as vice president.
Just last week, Biden tried to join in opposition to Cuba being named to the United Nations Human Rights Council. But the Obama-Biden administration attempted to appease the communist regime with lax sanctions and diplomatic overtures. And Cuba served on the U.N. Human Rights Council three separate times during Biden’s tenure.
Clearly, Biden cannot be trusted to hold Cuba’s government accountable for its horrendous actions.
Rather than taking the bold decision to confront such abuse, Biden is focused on winning over American socialists. As vice president, he sold out American workers to communist China while his son Hunter made lucrative deals in Beijing. Now he is proposing we abandon the Cuban and Venezuelan people to advance his personal political interests.
Come November, we cannot stand idly by while Joe Biden sells out the Cuban people and our core American values. My story is just one of many. We cannot allow the sacrifices of families like mine to have been made to be in vain.
Now more than ever we need to lean into the very values that make us uniquely American –freedom, liberty and the understanding that every human life is a gift from God.
To move forward, we must remember our shared past, build on the present, and fight for our future. And we need President Trump leading that charge.