I had the privilege of attending the signing ceremony for HB 959 held at the Freedom Tower in Miami yesterday. I was honored to have been in the presence of our esteemed federal and state representatives, human rights activists, Cuban and Syrian exile groups and other freedom loving Americans. I was proud to be a small part of such an auspicious occasion, and one predicated by a principled and moral victory. I think it safe to assume that all in attendance felt the same way, and, there is no doubt that all of those gathered had supported your campaign and your subsequent governorship. You were our governor, the man we helped put in office, leading by honor and virtue. Doing what was right as opposed to expeditious.
We were wrong. You duped us.
There in the Freedom Tower, our very own historic Ellis Island, where innumerable tears have been shed by the Cuban community, where the profundity of loss and hope and freedom has been enshrined for half a century, you lied to us. You accepted accolade after accolade, embrace after embrace, handshake after handshake while speaking of principles and liberty and justice knowing full well that the truth you kept hidden from us would dishearten and disillusion. You willfully deceived and betrayed a community that has lived through more than it’s fair share of same.
Your actions defiled the value and meaning of all the words of praise entrusted upon you by the leaders and people of this community. Your actions were not only a premeditated mockery, but an abject insult.
I will leave the legality of your argument for the legal experts and let those chips fall where they may. But please do know this: yesterday’s deception, your “signing legislation into law” which you had no intention, and most certainly lack the integrity and fortitude of enforcing, was not good leadership or diplomacy. It was and is an act of unprincipled diffidence. And true leadership, as well as the struggle for liberty and justice, have no room duplicitous cowards.
Valentin J. Prieto