Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that will require teachers to educate students on communist leaders and the people who suffered under their regimes. The lesson must last at least 45 minutes on November 7, designated as “Victims of Communism Day.”
“Honoring the people that have fallen victim to communist regimes and teaching our students about those atrocities is the best way to ensure that history does not repeat itself,” DeSantis said in a statement.
The new law will go into effect during the 2023-2024 school year and will compel educators to teach about Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro, as well as the “victims suffered under these regimes through poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence, and suppression of speech.”
“That body count of Mao is something that everybody needs to understand because it is a direct result of this communist ideology,” DeSantis said, referring to the tens of millions who died in China during Mao’s reign, as reported by the Miami Herald. “I know we don’t need legislation here to do this but I think it’s our responsibility to make sure people know about the atrocities committed by people like Fidel Castro and even more recently people like Nicolas Maduro.”
DeSantis signed the law at the Freedom Tower in Miami, where 650,000 Cuban refugees entered the U.S. while fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist regime in 1959.
“I stand here today to speak on behalf of the 120,000 students of Miami-Dade College, 75% of whom are Hispanic, and many whose parents and grandparents fled communism to give them the opportunity to come here,” said Madeline Pumariega, President, Miami Dade College. “Your investment here ensures that there will be someone standing here in the next hundred years, ensuring that the story of my parents, of our parents and our grandparents is told over and over again. We will continue to preserve the legacy of those that we know and those that we do not know.”
The governor said the law is part of an effort to combat a “tremendous ignorance” regarding communism and its impact on humanity. The legislation also allocated $25 million to repair the Freedom Tower and honor three Cubans who pushed back against Castro.
“Through HB 395 and the funding announced today, we are guaranteeing that the history of those who fled communist regimes and their experiences are preserved and not forgotten by our students,” DeSantis said. “While it’s fashionable in some circles to whitewash the history of communism, Florida will stand for truth and remain as a beachhead for freedom.”