“This is a matter of national security. The US must act,” Mucarsel-Powell tweeted.
The starkly differing positions exemplify a split between progressive and moderate Democrats on the Cuban embargo. Ocasio-Cortez has risen to prominence in the House as part of a progressive coalition. Mucarsel-Powell, who has been advising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Cuba policy, was ousted from her heavily Latino South Florida district in 2020, when Hispanic voters broke hard for Republicans as they pounded Democrats for being socialists. While Miami Democrats ran from the term, Ocasio-Cortez has aligned with Democratic socialists.
Cubans took to the streets in historic protests and demonstrations against the six-decade-old regime this past week, leading to hundreds of arrests.
President Joe Biden’s administration has been slow to react to the unrest despite urgent calls for action from both sides of the aisle.
Meanwhile, Florida Democrats see an opportunity for Biden to help bring democracy to Cuba and, as a result, attract the Hispanic voters who fled the party in the November election.
Biden on Thursday called Cuba a “failed state” in his sharpest recent comments on the island situated just 90 miles from Floridian shores.
Marc Caputo contributed to this report.