Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed legislation requiring students to learn about the suffering caused by communism.
DeSantis was at Miami's Freedom Tower for an event in which he signed a bill designating Nov. 7 as "Victims of Communism Day."
The legislation requires that all Florida students in high school government classes get at least 45 minutes of instruction on the "discredited ideology" that DeSantis said has been enjoying a rebirth in popularity, Florida Politics reported.
"You can see on college campuses, students flying the hammer and sickle from the old Soviet Union flag," DeSantis said, Florida Politics reported.
"You will see students that will have T-shirts with [Cuban revolutionary] Che Guevara on a T-shirt. … that, to me, speaks of a tremendous ignorance about what those individuals represented in the evils that communism inflicted on people throughout the world. And so our goal here is to stand for the truth."
Nov. 7 is the anniversary of the day in 1917 when Vladimir Lenin and armed Russian insurrectionists stormed the capital in Saint Petersburg to overthrow the government and start the Bolshevik Revolution.
Miami-Dade College President Madeline Pumariega said the new law will keep Guevara T-shirts off her campus.
"This bill is so important because what you don’t recognize and don’t learn about you tend to repeat," Pumariega said, Florida Politics reported. "So, [we will be] always keeping front and center that there are victims of communism."
DeSantis, who hasn’t signed the state’s new budget yet, said he will make sure $25 million goes to restore the Freedom Tower so it becomes a landmark museum.
"I think this tower is a reminder that freedom is not free, that you have to fight for your rights and that there are a lot of people out there that would love nothing more than to put you under some form of oppression," DeSantis said, WTVJ reported.
The governor also signed a street designation bill that he said memorializes the contribution of three "brave Cubans" who fought against Cuba’s regime: Arturo Diaz, a Cuban exile, who opened a Miami pharmacy and became a resource for many of his fellow community members; Maximino Capdevila, who founded a Tampa restaurant and served the Cuban community; and Oswaldo Payo, one of the first to oppose Castro’s regime.
"It is our job to make sure … that the lessons stand for next generations so that they understand the value of freedom, and the perils of communism," said Miami Sen. Manny Díaz, who will soon become the state’s education commissioner.
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