Rick Scott writes a pointless letter to Cuban President Raúl Castro

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PHOTO BY JEREMY REPER
  • Photo by Jeremy Reper
Florida Gov. Rick Scott penned what some would call a pretty pointless letter to Cuban President Raúl Castro asking him to "allow a new era of freedom and opportunity for Cuba" or continue on "the path of poverty." Because hey, why continue almost six decades of communist rule when you can instead start 2017 on a new leaf?

Florida's highest official sent a Spanish version of the letter (with a glaring misspelling in the first sentence) to Castro through the U.S.-Cuban ambassador. Scott sheds formalities and starts his letter by describing the celebrations in Miami by Cuban Americans after the death of dictator Fidel Castro last month.

"The celebration represented the hope for an end to the decades of torture, repression, incarceration and death that you and your brother have caused the people of Cuba," Scott writes. "While many are hopeful for the future of Cuba, it is thus far clear that nothing has changed."

Scott says the younger Castro is continuing his brother's path with the arrest of Cuban artist Danilo "El Sexto" Maldonado, who mocked Fidel’s death in a video, and the detainment of dissident Berta Soler, the leader of Damas de Blanco.

"Like your brother, you are known for firing squads and imprisonment of those who oppose you," Scott says. "...After Pope Francis’ trip to Cuba, you suggested that you may return to the church and pray again. My prayer for you and the Cuban people is that you listen to Pope Francis and focus on bringing absolute freedom and democracy to Cuba. I pray that you open Cuba to freedom of the press and religion; release all political prisoners; provide unfettered access to the internet; allow ownership of land; provide reparations to those whose property was confiscated; bring all Cuban military home and allow for free and fair elections with international supervision."

At this point, we have to wonder: Why is Scott sending Castro a letter that will probably end up in la basura? Well, there's several possibilities. The Miami Herald reports that although state governors don’t usually involve themselves with international affairs, Scott is "widely expected to run for U.S. Senate in 2018," and the letter is way to show some power. Politico notes that Scott served as the chair of President-elect Donald Trump's superPAC during the campaign and is opposed to President Obama normalizing relations with Cuba. Arguably, he's close enough to Trump to influence the Republican businessman's potential plans to scrap the dealings of the previous administration.

In his letter, Scott continues to hammer away at its recipient, saying Castro has the opportunity to take Cuba in one of two directions.

"You can allow a new era of freedom and opportunity for Cuba," he writes. "Every human heart longs for freedom, and your people long for freedom. Or, you can continue on the other path. This path is best characterized by oppression, tyranny, wrongful imprisonment, torture, and murder...And this is also the path of poverty, the path where the tyrants live like kings while the people live like peasants."

Scott ends his letter to Castro with a prayer and a slight delusion about how willing a regime is to give up its power.

"No one thinks you will choose the way of freedom, the way of democracy, the way of peace," he writes. "People will mock this letter and call it naïve. But, for the sake of the Cuban people, I pray change will come."

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