Readying to join President Donald Trump in Miami Friday for the president’s expected reinstitution of economic sanctions on Cuba, Florida Gov. Rick Scott indicated in Orlando Friday morning that he is ready to support such a move.
At a jobs announcement in Orlando, Scott said he’s convinced the long-term economic advantage of democracy and economic freedom in Cuba is preferable for Florida to any business opportunities and other relationships opening due to the thaw and lifting of economic sanctions that President Barack Obama initiated.
“I’m going to fight for Cuban families to have freedom,” Scott said. “Long-term, that’s good for every Cuban family that’s come here.”
Scott would not respond to press inquiries allowing that Cuba’s regime had survived more than 50 years of strict U.S. sanctions without moving to democracy, and wondering Trump’s vision might be different from that long-standing U.S. policy. Scott said he was looking forward to hearing what the president proposes.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with President Trump to let him know about the importance of democracy and freedom in Cuba. He’s known that all along,” Scott said. “I look forward to hearing exactly what he’s going to say today. I believe it is something that is going to push democracy and freedom.”
Scott insisted Obama’s policy didn’t work. He cited Cuban President Raul Castro‘s human rights crackdowns over the past two years, including almost daily arrests and detainments of the “Ladies in White” protesters. Scott did not directly respond to questions about whether he thought the Obama policy had helped Florida businesses, or improved situations in which Cuba was cooperating on such matters as human trafficking.
“Barack Obama capitulated. Raul Castro hasn’t changed. He’s gotten worse,” Scott said.
“The reality in this: more democracy in Latin America means more jobs in Florida, whether that’s through our ports, or whether that’s through people doing business here… we need more democracy,” he added.