After the mostly peaceful BLM protests following George Floyd’s murder, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed wholly unnecessary bills to crack down on demonstrations. It gave DeSantis an excuse to strut around on Fox News and yap about “law and order” to advance his presidential ambitions. But the laws are now being applied to protesters who are shutting down roads and assaulting cops to call attention to anti-regime protests in Cuba, a cause Florida Republicans favor.* [Tampa Bay Times]
TAMPA — Two men arrested in Tampa during Tuesday’s protests against the Cuban government appear to be among the first Tampa Bay defendants held under Florida’s divisive new “anti-riot” law.
Julian Rodriguez-Rodriguez, 30, of Tampa and Maikel Vasquez-Pico, 39, of Riverview, were arrested by Tampa police on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting law enforcement and taking part in an unlawful assembly that blocked streets or sidewalks, records show.
Until a few months ago, Rodriguez-Rodriguez and Vasquez-Pico would have been able to post bail immediately according a pre-set bond schedule. But jail records show that both men were being held Wednesday until their first appearance in court because of HB 1, the bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed it into law in April.
I don’t think there will be any political fallout for DeSantis, not even if thousands of Cuban-American Republican-voting protesters are jailed or run over by angry motorists. Republican voters just don’t punish their own elected officials, even if they are embarrassing failures who kill hundreds of thousands of Americans through incompetence, hubris and self-interest. But at least we can note the irony of it all.
*Especially Marco Rubio, who has been territorial-pissing all over Twitter about the protests in Cuba with the desperation of an undersized wiener dog whose compound has been invaded by a pack of Irish wolf hounds. Don’t even look, for chrissakes. It’s vicariously embarrassing, even if you loathe the sweaty little dweeb.