Does This Cuban Millennial Hold the Key to Freedom Young Americans Are Forgetting?

On the evening of December 6, I sat down at a café near Little Havana in Miami to drink coffee with one of Cuba’s most visionary freedom fighters. Rosa María Payá is a 28-year-old activist with a background in physics and a prolific track record in human rights advocacy. Publications like Fox News, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post have featured her referendum initiative, which has been discussed by the UN General Assembly and by heads of state like President Trump.

She is the daughter of Oswaldo Payá, a Cuban activist who led the Christian Liberation Movement which called for a transition to democracy in Cuba. He officially died in a car crash in 2012, but many dissidents speculate that it was actually a murder committed by the Cuban government to permanently halt his vision of multi-party elections being held in the country.

They say the best revenge is success; Rosa María decided to carry her father’s torch by organizing the “Cuba Decide” initiative, a campaign calling for a binding referendum to be held in Cuba to allow for a democratic system where multiple parties can hold elections. She emphasizes why “Cuba Decide” is important to ensure democracy for Cubans as well as international security.

She does not pretend that 'Cuba Decide' is a magical solution.

Payá and I talked about her identity, the “Cuba Decide” campaign and growing support for socialism amongst millennials. She does not pretend that “Cuba Decide” is a magical solution to tie together the oftentimes conflicting factions of Cuban dissidence movements. With the advent of social media, “Cuba Decide” represents the opportunity for those opposing factions to come together and support multi-party elections in Cuba for the first time in 60-plus years. Because the campaign itself does not represent nor endorse the creation of its own party, different visions can actually manifest as proper parties by following a single methodology.

We also spoke about perceptions abroad among the millennial population of socialism and capitalism. Various news outlets are reporting that millennials don't like capitalism, to a greater degree than other generations have. Young American voters increasingly support universal healthcare and education, which resonate with Cuba's main propaganda campaigns. Payá said the mission of the totalitarians that are in power right now, in countries like Cuba is to sell a lie around the world. International marketing is crucial; evoking romanticism surrounding Cuba's public services is key to building support domestically and abroad. She emphasized that this manipulation takes place not just in the media and political arena, but also in academics, the arts, and in the “exchange programs” where Cuba sends professionals like doctors on health campaigns abroad to build support for the regime. In addition, preying upon people’s struggles accessing healthcare and education in developed countries is crucial to building support for leftist political and economic platforms.

I asked her why young people, especially non-Cubans, should care about “Cuba Decide.” She answered that totalitarian regimes are not limited to the physical and national territory where they're imposed. Those regimes are toxic and interconnected. There is an actual coordination among the forces that are in power in these countries. The Foro de São Paulo, for example, is a coalition of left-leaning nations created by Lula da Silva and Fidel Castro in 1991. The first president that the coalition empowered was Hugo Chavez. Since 1998, with the coordination of the Cuban state security and the coalition, these organizations have been assaulting various Latin American democracies.

The United States is also affected. US National Director of Intelligence Jame Clapper in the US, laid out the four worse foreign espionage threats to the US in a 2016 congressional hearing. In order, they are Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba.

Ana Belén Montes, otherwise known as “Red Avispa,” is a jailed American citizen under the charge of espionage; she was a Cuban agent who was serving as an advisor for Cuban policy in the Pentagon. This year, sonic attacks were directed against American diplomats in Cuba. In 2015, a North Korean ship full of Cuban weapons was intercepted in the Panama Canal. The UN reported it, but we still don't know what the destination of those weapons was supposed to be.

When we talk about Cuban freedom, we are not just talking about being in solidarity with 13 million people on the island. We are talking about national security for the US, and the stability of the democracy in the region.

Payá didn’t mince her words: “When we talk about Cuban freedom, we are not just talking about being in solidarity with 13 million people on the island. We are talking about national security for the US, and the stability of the democracy in the region.”

She continued: “A change in Cuba isn't just improvement in quality of life for Cubans; it's going to remove a constant threat that the US and the rest of the region have been facing for 60-plus years.”

Lastly, I asked Payá about how to travel to Cuba consciously, a trending topic in the new era of loosened travel policies towards Cuba. “By visiting the beaches and drinking mojitos and margaritas, you are not supporting democracy in Cuba,” said Payá. “But by going there and giving materials to the people, sharing information Cubans don't have access to, those are substantive actions that support the people. But that's not being a tourist, that's being an activist.”

Not many know this, but Castro’s Revolution in Cuba wouldn’t have been possible without the help of women like Celia Sánchez or Vilma Espín who carried out the necessary logistics.

Sixty years later, a woman may be fomenting its demise as well.


Ibis Valdés is a Young Voices advocate and a graduate of international law and human rights. She is an organizer with Engage Miami, a nonprofit that elevates the youth voice in South Florida elections. Opinions presented here belong solely to the author.

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

June 15-17


Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.