Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants US firms to beam the internet to Cubans via satellite during historic protests

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants US firms to beam the internet to Cubans via satellite during historic protests
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a roundtable event on July 13 in solidarity with Cubans protesting their government. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that US companies should beam the internet to Cuba.
  • Cuba restricted access to some social media sites on July 12 amid anti-government protests.
  • DeSantis said he'd make "some calls" to encourage companies to provide satellite internet to Cuba.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants internet companies to beam the internet into Cuba, after thousands of its residents took to the streets in anti-government protests on July 11.

DeSantis made the comments at a roundtable with Florida lawmakers and members of the Cuban-American community in Miami on Tuesday, which was recorded and uploaded to his Facebook page.

The event, held at the American Museum of the Cuba Diaspora, came a day after Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel's government restricted access to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to try to stem the protests, according to internet monitoring site NetBlocks.

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"One of the things I think we should be able to do with our private companies or with the United States is to provide some of that internet service via satellite," DeSantis said at the meeting.

DeSantis said at the event that he would make "some calls" to encourage businesses to offer internet to Cubans, but did not specify which companies he had in mind.


"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," DeSantis said at the roundtable.

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Cubans took to the streets on Sunday to protest a shortage of food and medicines, and a spiraling number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, the BBC reported. Cuba has given 798,655 vaccine doses so far to its people, according to the World Health Organization, in a population of 11.3 million.

Diaz-Canel blamed the demonstrations on US-backed social media campaigns in a televised speech after protests broke out on Sunday, per Reuters.

Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged President Joe Biden on Monday to lift economic sanctions on Cuba brought in during the Trump administration. He argued that sanctions had contributed to the "profound hardship" for the Cuban people in a statement.