Florida Governor To Defund Ports That Do Business With Cuban Dictatorship

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott threatened Florida ports Wednesday, warning that doing business with Cuba’s communist dictatorship could cost them state funding.

Scott expressed his disappointment with Florida ports in a series of tweets, claiming that his state can not “condone” the Castro government oppression. The governor’s admonishment followed news that a port in Fort Lauderdale recently imported the first legal goods coming out of Cuba since the Obama administration lifted the 50-year U.S. embargo on the island nation.

“Disappointed some FL (Florida) ports would enter into any agreement with Cuban dictatorship,” Scott said. “I will recommend restricting state funds for ports that work with Cuba in my budget. We cannot condone Raul Castro’s oppressive behavior. Serious security/human rights concerns.”

Former President Barack Obama worked to reestablish ties with Cuba towards the end of his administration, eventually reestablishing ties with the communist dictatorship on July 20, 2015. Obama was unable to unilaterally lift the embargo on Cuba, which requires congressional approval, but he was able to ease restrictions on trade, travel and certain products like rum and cigars.

The Castro regime is believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 9,200 inside Cuba, while another 78,000 reportedly died fleeing the dictatorship.

Raul Castro took over for his brother, Fidel, in 2008. The Castro brothers fought against the Cuban government during the uprisings and subsequent communist revolution in the 1950s. The U.S. government engaged in an embargo against Cuba in 1962 in response to its oppressive, anti-U.S. policies.

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