Final committee approval sends “Victims of Communism” observance bill to House floor

Companion legislation is making its way through Senate.

A bill that proposes public school students observe “Victims of Communism Day” and learn about the suffering inflicted by communism is now heading to the House floor after getting through its final committee Thursday.

The House Education & Employment Committee approved the bill (HB 395). Republican Rep. David Borrero of Sweetwater is the bill sponsor. Similar legislation (SB 268) is making its way through the Senate.

“It is my greatest honor to be able to represent so many victims of communism from our district and from the state of Florida,” Borrero said. “So many have suffered. Many of them we know. Many of them have specifically fled to Florida as a safe haven.”

Starting in the 2023-24 school year, high school students in American government class would receive at least 45 minutes of instruction on the movement that has killed more than 100 million people, according to the bill.

Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Russia’s Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Cambodia’s Pol Pot and China’s Mao Zedong are the figures mentioned in the legislation that aims to ensure students learn, “how victims suffered under these regimes through suppression of speech, poverty, starvation, migration and systemic lethal violence.”

The day singled out in the legislation falls on the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, when Lenin began a revolt against the ruling Russian Parliament, leading his forces into the Russian capital.

Republican Rep. Randy Fine said his aide is a refugee from Russia, who threatened to quit if he didn’t vote for the bill. “She’s a victim of communism,” he said.

The co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Alex Rizo of Hialeah, recalled an exchange with a local TV reporter who wasn’t interested in doing a story about the legislation.

She said, “Come on! Victims of communism? Show me a victim of communism,” Rizo said. “I thought it was rather crass because we come from Miami-Dade County. … We have the largest population of refugees, people who have left a country, people who have been victims of communism, or have been touched or impacted by communism.

“You know if your name is Rizo or Borrero what this is about,” he added, before running through Russian names, Chinese names and Romanian names. “We grew up with it. We know it. We hear the stories.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • tom palmer

    February 17, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    how about the victims of U.S backed authoritarism regiems.; Unmarlked graves in Chile;’s Atacama desert. The other 9/11.

    • Michael Fanning

      February 17, 2022 at 10:37 pm

      Indoctrinating children by scaring them about communism is not the way to fight communism. Teaching them the true history of the United States is the way to empower the next generation. But that’s not the goal is it?

  • tom palmer

    February 18, 2022 at 1:11 am

    We had courses like this in the 1960s in the heyday of the John Birch Society It was short-lived, especially after communism collapsed on its own incompetence. Its strength was overestimated to keep the defense contracts coming

  • zhombre

    February 18, 2022 at 8:37 am

    The True History of the United States? You mean starting with the 1619 Project and carrying on the lurid carnival of racism, exploitation, genocide, et al, from there?

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    February 19, 2022 at 3:56 pm

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  • politics

    February 20, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    you can learn all you want but that is business it is the same in America on food stamps

  • politics

    February 20, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    Didn’t florida become organized crime in those days

Comments are closed.


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