Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has called for US military intervention following a weekend of protests in Cuba, arguing that previous US attacks elsewhere – from Panama to Kosovo – have gone swimmingly. His idea was not popular.

Cuba, Suarez told Fox News during a Tuesday interview, is a threat to the US because it’s “exporting communism throughout the hemisphere.” Indeed, Suarez claimed, not only is Cuba “one of the largest narcotraficantes in the region, it is a state supporter of terror as designated by the United States.”

“[Cuba] is exporting communism throughout the hemisphere and throughout the world and has been doing it for decades and that is something that should interest the national security of the US,” the mayor said. He then suggested the US take out the Cuban government by some means similar to the 1990 arrest of notorious drug-trafficking Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, a US ally who lost his favored status after it was revealed that he had also passed intelligence to other countries, including Cuba, in defiance of Washington.

Suarez argued Panama had enjoyed decades of peaceful democracy since the removal of Noriega. Internationally, though, Panama has a questionable reputation as a tax haven for the wealthy, laid bare by the Panama Papers expose of 2018.

But it wasn’t just Panama, Suarez explained in a separate Fox interview on Tuesday – both political parties could get behind airstrikes. Just as the Republican Bush administration took out Noriega, “you had interventions by a Democratic president taking out Osama bin Laden in Pakistan […] And President Clinton in Kosovo intervening in a humanitarian issue with airstrikes. So there have been many, many opportunities in the history of…”

The mayor was then cut off by an incredulous Maria McCallum, who asked if he was indeed “suggesting airstrikes in Cuba.” Suarez did not avail himself of the chance to back down, telling the Fox host that military intervention should be on the table. 

That option is one that has to be explored and cannot be discarded as one that is not on the table.

Suarez argued vehemently against any efforts by the Joe Biden administration to relax the embargo which has kept other countries from sending aid to the island nation since 1960, insisting that the Cuban government would use the incoming money against Washington. “They want to be able to blame the US for their failed system of government,” the mayor argued.

“Anything we do to try to help the island ultimately becomes fuel for them to repress their citizens,” he complained. He expanded on the subject in the other interview, arguing that the embargo was not “cruel,” while suggesting that the Cuban government alone, not the blockade Washington imposed on the island, is to blame for its economic plight.

While Miami’s large coalition of anti-Castro Cubans had marched in ‘solidarity’ with the protesters in Havana over the weekend, commentators on social media didn’t exactly come out in full force behind their mayor’s idea to bomb the city’s closest foreign neighbor. Indeed, precious few thought it was a good idea.

Some suggested the US should refrain from intervening in yet another country while barely out of the Afghanistan quagmire, while others flouted the idea of a “peaceful invasion.”

“Send food, medicine, engineers and social workers… not soldiers. Let’s have a peaceful invasion for once,” a Biden supporter tweeted.

Send food, medicine, engineers and social workers… not soldiers. Let’s have a peaceful invasion for once.#CubaLibre

People talking about invading Haiti and Cuba immediately after pulling out of a 20 year war in Afghanistan with absolutely zero self-awareness is wild.

Others simply expressed disbelief that such an idea was being uttered by the mayor of a major American city on live TV, or that anyone would back such a thing.

Holy shit listening to some goon on NPR (the, uh, mayor of Miami) advocating US military invasion of Cuba

…you’re peacefully demonstrating to demand war?That’s pretty ironic.I don’t know enough about Cuba to have meaningful opinions on it, but my libertarian nature doesn’t like us playing world police. Default answer is “no”, and you need to justify action.

Some settled in for the latest round of regime-change bingo as US officials made it clear Cubans attempting to swim or boat their way to Florida would not be welcome.

Every chickenhawk in America dusting off their “quick regime change war” talking points . . .

Without US “Democracy” vs With US “Democracy”

One user noticed that the protest signs – supposedly anti-communist – in some footage used in Maria McCallum’s interview with the mayor had actually been edited to remove revolutionary slogans, a problem that repeatedly reared its head over the course of the weekend, with CNN using a photo of a Miami protest and the AP also captioning pro-government protests as the opposite. 

Did they Photoshop out the protest signs?

While Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are socialist, the number of people living under leftist governments in Latin America has declined precipitously over the last 50 years – in large part due to violent far-right uprisings masterminded by Washington, which saw huge numbers of political activists, leftist politicians, and union leaders killed, tortured, and “disappeared.” 

While Suarez seems intent on bringing such an experience to his ancestral homeland – which largely escaped the anti-socialist violence of the 1970s after CIA efforts to overthrow communist leader Fidel Castro nearly triggered a nuclear war – Cuba got off relatively easy compared to countries like Argentina and El Salvador. The island managed to escape the Cold War with “just” the embargo, which would immerse its citizens in poverty for the better part of a century, while CIA plots against Castro ultimately failed.  

Though the protests initially appeared to be targeting the government over a food and medicine shortage, US media and sympathetic Miami Cubans spun the narrative to make the discontent about communism itself. The Cuban government hit back, accusing Washington of fomenting the unrest with its blockade and accused US-paid mercenaries of instigating the protests at home.

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