The State of Cuba

The nationwide protests against the Communist dictatorship in Cuba have been unprecedented in size, duration, and range. Smaller protests have occurred in the past, followed by suppression. Among chants of “Freedom!” and “We are not afraid!” was also “Homeland and Life!” The latter originated in a rap video that has been like a slap in the face to the Communists (think of Tom MacDonald’s “No Lives Matter” rap song in this country).

I believe there are two reasons why this time around the protests have been much more dangerous for the government. First, the cult of personality revolving around Fidel Castro has eroded since his death in 2016. Second, and much more importantly, the safety valve has been turned off. 

Previously, whenever living conditions had become unbearable in Cuba, the Communists had allowed Cubans to take to the high seas to escape the oppressive conditions. Ironically, Miami was the regime’s pressure valve. America had always welcomed them unconditionally. No longer. A few years back, U.S. policy officially changed. 

This is similar to what happened in 1956, when the Hungarian revolt was crushed by Russian tanks; the Hungarian fighters were allowed to escape to Austria so that the Communists in Hungary could rest easily. Joe Biden, however, has announced that Cubans will not be allowed into the country (because Cubans have experienced Communism, they tend to vote against the Democrats).

How bad is it in Cuba? Watch these videos. The reaction to seeing all the food in a supermarket is a common one among persons who leave Communism behind.

But, according to many Western intellectuals Cubans under the Castros’ heels have never had it so good (Raymond Aron a French philosopher pointed out that Marxism is the opium of the intellectual). For years right up to the present, Cuban-Americans have had to put up with the propaganda that leftists have been cranking out in books, television, newspapers, and films. It has been like sprinkling salt at an open wound.

It remains commonplace for persons who don’t speak a word of Spanish, who have never visited Cuba prior to the revolution, and who know nothing of Cuba’s geography, history, or literature, to argue with Cubans and tell them that they are mistaken about Castro and Communism. How ignorant are they? They are so ignorant that one of the propaganda films from Hollywood (“Havana”) starring Robert Redford and directed by Sydney Pollack had Batista—who was a black man—portrayed as a white blonde. The film also portrayed America as the evil entity supporting Batista, except in reality, the United States had put an arms embargo on the government. 

Only leftists with such a colossal ignorance of historical facts can be found working in Hollywood. Oher pro-Cuban propaganda films were “Cuba,” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “Che,” “Che,” and more “Che.”

The advocates and the propaganda in favor of the Communist dictatorship are still present. Case in point is the “democratic socialist” senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who has never known of a Communist dictatorship that he did not like. Sanders, along with Representative Alexandria Occasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have publicly called for an end to the embargo, since it is obvious to them that it is the embargo the Cuban people are protesting. That and the lack of vaccines for COVID-19. And it is all America’s fault. Other leftists parroted the same line, as they have done for decades. Black Lives Matter has come out in support of the Communist regime, which is interesting, considering the Communist-supported racism against blacks in Cuba.

Cubans living in the United States have come out to say that these leftists do not know what they are talking about, they are wrong. The Cubans on the island were calling out for “Freedom!” not “Vaccines!” or “End the embargo!”

Something that apologists like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and other leftist small fry do not know is that, first, there is no embargo from the United States on food or medicine. Further, during the Obama Administration, U.S. officials extended offers to Raúl Castro to end the embargo. The dictatorship refused. The dictatorship has always needed the embargo as the excuse to offer the people and the regime’s sympathizers for the hardships the regime is responsible for, just like it needs Americans as the scapegoats. The government does not want the U.S. embargo to be lifted—ever.

Will we soon see the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Cuba? The only thing that the government is good at is repression. That is what it does best (notice that the security forces drive around with state-of-the-art autos while the Cuban people drive in 1950s clunkers). Whether this time around it will continue to be successful with the safety valve broken remains to be seen. We can hope. 

I admit to being a bit pessimistic about this. After all, Cubans were the last of the Hispanic South Americans to abolish slavery (1886) and the last to become independent of Spain (1898)—and that only because of help from the United States. So, as far as overthrowing the Communists? We can only hope. 

About Armando Simón

Armando Simón is a retired psychologist, author of A Cuban from Kansas, When Evolution Stops and The Book of Many Books.

Photo: (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

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