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Cuban Embassy Reopens. Cigars, Protests and Food Ensue

Seven months after President Obama announced that the United States would begin normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Cuban flag is flying in the United States for the first time in 54 years. Large crowds gathered outside the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. as the flag was raised for the first time since 1961. Here’s what went down on this historic day:

Some people posed with the flag before it was raised.

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Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

That’s the same flag that was lowered in on January 3, 1961, when the US cut off diplomatic ties with Cuba.

Others celebrated with a cigar.

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Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

And while people inside in the Cuban Embassy enjoyed some snacks…

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Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

All eyes (and cameras) were on the Cuban Embassy building.

Cuban flag raised at embassy
Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

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There were plenty of supporters on hand…

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Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Along with protestors.

In Miami, protestors lined the streets to make their voices heard.

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Photo Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

 Some engaged in debate…

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Photo Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

And others sent messages to President Obama.

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Photo Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

Back in D.C., the flag was raised to cheers from the crowd.

And there's the flag ??

A video posted by Christian Toppenberg (@cebtopp) on

After 54 years, the flag was flying in the U.S. once again.

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Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Three Cuban soldiers stood at attention while the flag made its way up the pole.

A new plaque went up…

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Secretary of State John Kerry made it official with a handshake…

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Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty

And the selfies started making their way to Instagram.

*Officially* a new neighbor on 16th St, #CubanEmbassy raised its flag and opened today. #Cuba #embassy #DC

A photo posted by Jason Dixson (@jasondixsonphoto) on

Maduro’s Attempts To Deprive Venezuelans Of Oxygen To Coerce Voters Rings Eerily Similar To Trump’s Threat To Withhold COVID Vaccines From New York

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Maduro’s Attempts To Deprive Venezuelans Of Oxygen To Coerce Voters Rings Eerily Similar To Trump’s Threat To Withhold COVID Vaccines From New York

JUAN BARRETO / Getty

It is one of the oldest binding oaths in history: the Hippocratic Oath outlines a physician’s duty to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability and to do no harm.

Still, somehow, 16 members of Cuba’s medical missions to Venezuela say that they were forced to abandon this promise while serving patients. A new report by the New York Times details how these physicians detailed a system of deliberate political manipulation in which Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro Moros used coercion of their services to encourage votes for his Socialist Party.

According to the doctors, various tactics were used to secure votes from patients including the denial of treatment for opposition supporters.

“The Cuban doctors said they were ordered to go door-to-door in impoverished neighborhoods, offering medicine and warning residents that they would be cut off from medical services if they did not vote for Mr. Maduro or his candidates,” writes the New York Times in their latest report about the ongoings in Venezuela. “Many said their superiors directed them to issue the same threats during closed-door consultations with patients seeking treatment for chronic diseases.”

One former Cuban supervisor reported that she and other foreign medical workers were provided with counterfeit identification cards so that they could vote in an election. Another doctor claimed that she was told to give elderly patients “detailed” voting instructions.

“These are the kinds of things you should never do in your life,” the doctor, who spoke to the NYT under the condition of anonymity, stated.

These accounts of manipulation and fraud under Maduro’s legitimate time as president serve as a sort of parallel to the ones Americans face post-2020 election.

Just as Biden supporters have had to combat Trump’s grossly false claims about a “rigged” election, Maduros’ opposition-controlled legislature have had to fight combat claims by Maduro and the results of his undemocratic election.

According to New York Times, “Mr. Maduro’s opponents often accuse Cuba — which has long depended on oil from Venezuela — of propping up his embattled government by sending agents to work with Venezuela’s intelligence agencies, helping its ideological ally crush dissent.”

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the New York Times report are claims that doctors saw medical supplied hoarded until the May election. (Oddly similar to remarks that Trump has made about withholding a COVID-19 vaccine from New York City.) One physician, Dr. Yansnier Arias, claimed that his supervisors expressed a desire to “flood hospitals” with supplies just before the vote was made in order to make voters believe that Mr. Maduro had solved the country’s shortage difficulties.

“There was oxygen, but they didn’t let me use it,” Dr. Arias told New York Times.“We had to leave it for the election.”

According to New York Times, Dr. Arias defected from the Cuban government’s medical program last year and now lives in Chile.

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Cuban Asylum Seekers Stranded In Mexico Are Upset That Cuban-Americans Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump in Florida

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Cuban Asylum Seekers Stranded In Mexico Are Upset That Cuban-Americans Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump in Florida

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cuban migrants who are stranded in Mexico are reportedly upset that Cuban-Americans in Florida overwhelmingly voted for Trump, according to reports. 

Reuters interviewed several Cuban migrants who are stuck in Mexico due to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies.

Many of the Cuban migrants were planning on claiming asylum in the United States due to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies, they are forced to wait out the process in Mexico. Some have been there for months. 

Although many of the Cubans in Mexico understand Trump’s appeal to Cuban-Americans (i.e. anti-socialist, pro-capitalism), they nonetheless wish that their compatriots would look at the bigger picture when it comes to immigration reform. “They’re only thinking about the benefits for themselves if Trump wins, and nothing else,” said one Cuban asylum seeker, a doctor named Dairon Elisondo, to Reuters.

According to NBC News, 55% of Cuban-Americans in Florida cast their vote for incumbent Donald Trump as president.

They effectively helping the state–which was considered a potential swing state–turn red. One asylum-seeker whom Reuters interviewed claimed that he was betrayed by his own family member when his brother-in-law in Florida voted for Donald Trump.

“Imagine it! I’m a part of his family!” said Jose Manuel Maranillo. “I feel terrible he voted for Trump because we’re stuck here in Juarez hoping for Biden to win so he can help us and Latinos in the United States too.”

One of the Cuban asylum-seekers, Yuri Gonzalez, pointed out that Cubans who arrived in the United States before Trump was elected had a different experience when it came to seeking asylum. “Many of them [in Florida] arrived to the United States on planes with visas,” said Gonzalez. “They didn’t cross borders or endure any of the difficult experiences I’ve had to.”

Reuters asked Denise Galvez, a Cuban-American living in Florida who co-founded the group Latinas for Trump, what she thought of the Cuban migrants in Mexico who are disappointed in Florida going red.

Galvez said that immigration was “far from a top voting issue” for her and many other Cuban-Americans.

Another Cuban-American residing in Florida, Maria Romero, said she supports Trump for his hardline stance against Havana, but she also sympathizes with the asylum-seekers stuck in limbo. “I’m Cuban, so I don’t want [Trump] to be kicking other Cubans in the head,” she said. But unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what he’s doing.

Since President Trump was elected to office in 2016, the policies towards asylum seekers has become incredibly strict, even enacting an “asylum ban” in 2018. The ban was later struck down by an appeals court in 2020. But still, seeking asylum in the U.S. as a migrant is harder than ever.

When former Vice President Joe Biden was officially projected to be the next President of the United States on Saturday, the Cuban asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico were reportedly overjoyed. Cheers and chanting erupted in the refugee camp when the news was announced. The words “Bye Trump” were spelled out in balloon letters.

“We’re all going to celebrate today! Everyone is so happy,” Elisondo told Reuters after the announcement. “After so much darkness the light may arrive.”

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