Cuba

Giuliani Likens "Patria y Vida" Arrest to Trump Impeachment Trial

Rudy Guiliani's joining protestors at a Cuba rally outside Versailles today.
Rudy Guiliani's joining protestors at a Cuba rally outside Versailles today. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Former Trump lawyer and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is risking melting in Miami's heat today to join protesters at an SOS Cuba rally outside Versailles Restaurant on the anniversary of the 1953 Communist revolution. The event began at 9 a.m. and will continue until early afternoon.

In an interview with New Times, Giuliani declared his support for Cubans protesting the Communist regime from both inside and outside the island nation. He was quick to liken the Cuban government's treatment of dissidents — specifically 25-year-old photographer Anyelo Troya, who shot the Cuban portion of the viral video of the protest song "Patria y Vida (Homeland and Life)" — to U.S. Democrats' treatment of Trump during his second impeachment trial.

"Their [Cuba's] version of a trial is also similar to the Democrats, it's similar to the kind of trial that House Democrats [Jerrold] Nadler and shifty [Adam] Schiff gave Trump in private," Giuliani tells New Times. "The man [Troya] who shot that video was sentenced to jail already: He got a trial with no lawyer, with no one allowed to be there, and it took about three hours — kind of the way that House Democrats Nadler and Schiff treated President Trump: no lawyer, no witnesses."

Last week, Troya was reportedly sentenced to a year in prison on charges of "instigating unrest" after attending a demonstration in Havana. "Patria y Vida" has become an anthem for protesters in Miami and Cuba, as demonstrators march in the streets chant the title — a play on the Communist revolution-era slogan "Patria o Muerte (Homeland or Death"). Troya's arrest came amid a wave of Cuban government crackdowns on protesters and opposition leaders on the island.


Guiliani is in town in collaboration with far-right cable channel One America News, to record an episode of his podcast, Rudy Guiliani's Common Sense, at the iconic Cuban restaurant on SW Eighth Street. He says he will be joined by City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Giuliani — whose license to practice law was recently suspended in New York and Washington, D.C., following his persistent efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election — went on to lambaste those in the United States who he says are sympathetic to the Cuban government.

"People should know that Black Lives Matter and the woman [Nikole Hannah-Jones] who's the author of the '1619 Project' for the New York Times, have all supported the Communist dictatorship regime against the people," Giuliani says. "They want to see those people continue to starve, continue to be held in subjugation, and they have a false promise for them, which is the false promise of socialism."

Though many have attributed Trump-era sanctions on Cuba to helping to spur the economic crisis the Caribbean nation now faces, Giuliani says embargoes and strict sanctions have worked to fight oppression in other countries, such as South Africa during apartheid.

"If you talk to the people who are protesting, they will tell you to increase the embargo. They wouldn't be where they are without the embargo," Giuliani contends.

Some have said the U.S. embargo of Cuba, as well as the Trump-era policy to restrict remittances— money transfers from Cuban people in the U.S. to their family members in Cuba — helped to starve the island's people amid a period of economic turmoil made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Others argue the present crisis has less to do with the embargo and more to do with the government's repressive policies and centrally planned economy.
In recent days, Giuliani has taken to Twitter to pontificate about Cuba and criticize leaders from President Biden to Pope Francis for their positions on Cuba.

He tells New Times that under a Republican president, the situation in Cuba would have already been handled.

"If we had Ronald Reagan in the White House, I'd say this government gets overthrown in one year without a shot being fired."

Short of advocating for military intervention on the island, Giuliani says the Biden administration could help protest efforts in Cuba by providing internet to its people, which the Cuban government throttled after protests sprang up in recent weeks.

Leaders in the U.S., including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have advocated for the U.S. to somehow provide internet to the Cuban people from offshore, with some calling for the use of Floating Internet Balloons.

"One of the things that the Biden administration could do that would really help, that could win the whole thing without firing a shot, is they could restore internet service for the entire island," Giuliani maintains.
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos