Largely lost amid the election-dominated news was that Florida marked its inaugural “Victims of Communism Day” on Monday.
Six months ago, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted a law that called on the state and its schools to recognize the 100 million people worldwide who lost their lives under communist regimes.
The law also required schools to teach at least 45 minutes of instruction on the evils of China’s Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution; the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin and the Soviet system; Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution; Russia’s Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Revolution; Cambodia’s Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge; and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and the Chavismo movement.
Victims of Communism Day was advocated by three South Florida Republicans, including former Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah, who now serves as state education commissioner.
On Monday, DeSantis issued a proclamation to commemorate the moment.
“Florida is home to millions of individuals who came here seeking freedom from countries controlled by Communist governments, including Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua,” DeSantis’ office said in a press release.
“To honor the memories and sacrifices of those who suffered under these despotic regimes,” the release continued, state lawmakers and the governor established “a yearly day during which students in Florida’s schools will learn about the atrocities committed by Communist regimes and the more than 100 million people who were persecuted and lost their lives in Communist countries.
In a statement, DeSantis noted, “At a time when Marxism, socialism, and communism are actively promoted by prominent politicians and pop-culture figures in our own country, it is more important than ever to teach Florida’s schoolchildren about the horrific history of Communist countries and to provide them with opportunities to hear from individuals who suffered under the rule of Communist dictators.”
“That is why I established Victims of Communism Day and launched an initiative to record video testimonials of Floridians who suffered under these regimes. When we comprehend the horrors of the past brought about as a result of this evil ideology, we are inspired to defend our nation’s republican government, its free enterprise economy, and its vibrant religious traditions and civil society from the forces which seek its destruction.”
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez added in prepared remarks, “As the daughter of Cuban exiles, I know firsthand the devastating impact communism has had on the people of Cuba. In Florida, we will not allow that dangerous ideology of communism to permeate into our society, and we will continue to educate our children about the atrocities that have happened at the hands of communist dictators. I am proud that our administration has and will always stand for freedom and oppose those who want to take it away from us.”
Commissioner Diaz added in a statement, “As a Cuban-American, my family is just one of many who have suffered from the evils of communism. Some of the devastating impacts of Communist regimes include the stealing of citizens’ homes, the murdering and imprisoning of their loved ones and the stripping away of their freedoms.”
“It is imperative that every single student in Florida learns of the atrocities committed in the name of communism so that it never has a place here in America. Thank you to Governor Ron DeSantis for honoring those victimized because of this hateful ideology.”
DeSantis has championed those who battled the malignant ideology of communism during his time in office.
That includes making Cuban-American Felix Rodriguez, a former CIA officer du9rng the Bay of Pigs invasion and a veteran of the Vietnam war, the first-ever recipient of the Governor’s Medal of Freedom.
DeSantis’ office also noted he has allocated historic amounts of funding for the Bay of Pigs Museum and the Freedom Tower in South Florida and has been a staunch critic of communist China.
Nov. 7 has been recognized as the day for this event because of the Russian revolution.
In March 1917, Russian Tsar Nicholas II, a monarch, and an autocrat, abdicated his throne and was replaced by a provisional government in a near-bloodless coup. The new government was left-leaning and not wild about capitalism, but it sought to introduce a liberal, democratically elected form of government.
On Nov. 7 that year, the new Russian government was overthrown by the communists, implementing a reign of terror that lasted more than 70 years and spread beyond Russia’s borders, including to Cuba in 1959.
The proclamation DeSantis signed on Monday noted that communism is “incompatible with the principles of liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of each human life which form the bedrock of our nation’s republican government, its free enterprise economy, and its vibrant religious traditions and civil society.”
“Victims of Communism Day is an opportunity for students of all ages and Floridians of all backgrounds to learn about the dangers posed by socialism around the world and here at home, as well to reflect upon the blessings of liberty afforded to ourselves and our posterity as a result of the American traditions of limited government and individual freedom.”