Calling Nicolás Maduro “a dictator, plain and simple,” and claiming Cuba is no closer to democracy, the former vice president delivered a strong rebuke to the president’s socialism-themed accusations.
In a strong two-punch response to President Donald Trump’s constant accusations of wanting to take the country on the road to socialism or communism, Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden denied the accusations as he slammed the president’s stance on Cuba and Venezuela, saying Trump’s steep sanctions have only strengthened Cuba’s dictatorship, and his administration has done nothing to restore democracy to Venezuela.
“The administration’s approach is not working. Cuba is no closer to democracy than it was four years ago,” the former vice president said during his first visit to Miami, Florida.
Biden, who spoke from a socially-distanced gymnasium at José Martí Park in Little Havana, the historic center of Miami’s Cuban exile community, was introduced by Victoria Príncipe, a Venezuelan first-time voter, and by a Cuban American local nurse and veteran, Esther Segura.
Driving home his point, Biden went on to say that Trump’s steep sanctions on the Caribbean nation, ostensibly meant to ensure that US dollars would not fund the Cuban government, have not only failed, but backfired.
“There are more political prisoners. The secret police are as brutal as ever. And Russia is once again a presence in Cuba and Havana,” he pointed out.
Biden also blasted Trump for failing to restore democracy in Venezuela, as well as for his administration’s blocking of a bill that would have granted undocumented exiles from the South American country living in the US Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from deportation back to a nation in the throes of hyperinflation.
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“Maduro, who I’ve met, is a dictator, plain and simple,” said Biden. “And he’s caused incredible suffering among the Venezuelan people to maintain his grip on power.”
“I’ve Taken On the Castros of the World”
During an NBC town hall for undecided voters held at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, Biden again delivered a strong rebuke to the president’s relentless socialism-themed accusations.
“Do I look like a socialist?” Biden replied when a Cuban American member of the audience asked him if there was any truth to those charges. Biden pointed out that during the campaign for his party’s nomination, he was often called out by the other Democratic contenders for being “too moderate, too middle of the road.”
“I was the guy who ran against the socialists… I have taken on the very people [you] are worried about,” he told the socially-distanced audience. “I’ve taken on the Castros of the world, I’ve taken on the Putins of the world. All of these dictators, I haven’t cozied up to them. I’m the guy who’s been straightforward with them, I’m the guy who has let them know ‘It stops here, it stops with me,’” he said, before reassuring Cuban and Venezuelan voters that they don’t need to worry, and urging them to look at his record. “There’s not a single syllable that I’ve ever said that can lead you to believe that I was a socialist or a communist.”