Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has fired back at his critics who called him a dictator by reminding them that people are pouring into Florida because the state is a “beachhead of freedom.”
“Well, I think it’s a slap in the face to everybody in South Florida that has experience with these Marxist dictators in our hemisphere,” the governor said.
“You have people who were driven out of the island of Cuba, you have people that will — that so bad the oppression there, that they would get on a raft and go 90 miles over shark-infested waters, to be able to get to freedom.
“You have people whose entire livelihoods were taken from them, their entire liberty were taken away from them.
“And then they’ve come to here in South Florida.
“You’ve seen the same thing of what’s happened with Venezuela, used to be a very prosperous country, then Chavez and Maduro, now it’s like a third world country, even though they have so many natural resources.
“You look at what’s happened in Nicaragua.
“You look at what could happen in places like — like Colombia.
“So to equate Florida, which is viewed not only in our country but even around the world, as a beachhead of freedom, to equate that with those regimes, just shows that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
“And I think that it really does a disservice to the oppression that so many people in southern Florida have faced either firsthand or through members of their family.
“And there’s a reason why people are pouring into the state of Florida.
“There’s a reason why we’ve led the country in net — in migration.
“I’m not even asking anybody to come.
“You know, some governors beg people to come.
“I love the people we have here.
“I’m fine, but people are they’re fleeing a lot of these bad, and not just fleeing other states, they’re fleeing from Canada.
“They’re fleeing from other places to be able to come to the state of Florida.
“And so I realized there may be some people in the state of Florida, not in my party, but some others politicians who have a soft spot for dictatorships like in Cuba.
“They have a soft spot for people like Maduro and Ortega, and I just want people to know that I have contempt for those views.
“Because those views do not represent the values of the state of Florida but particularly the values of the people of South Florida.”