By Armando Simon
The recent uprisings in Cuba were unprecedented in scope. They were massive, nationwide and openly anti-government. Protesters chanted “Freedom!” “We are not afraid!” and “Homeland and life,” the latter a counter to the government’s motto of “Homeland or death.”
“Homeland and life” is derived from a Cuban rap song that is an ideological gut punch to the regime: “It’s over! You’re 1959, I’m 2020,” “Who told you that Cuba belongs to you?” “Your time is over, silence has been broken!” “And we’re not afraid, the lies are finished!”
As of this writing, the communist government has shut down all communication to the outside world.
These were not the first protests against the government. In the past, there have been many smaller protests demanding basic human rights. They were quickly suppressed. The government may not be able to feed its people, or fix the infrastructure, or clothe its people, but it is good at repression. It is very good at repression. It’s what it does best.In America, you may not have heard of the human rights movement in Cuba because journalists for decades have supported and sanitized the communist regime (which is precisely what they are doing for President Biden’s administration). For example, American journalists have not covered the story of the Ladies in White, or Yoani Sánchez or the San Isidro Movement; doing so would make the communist regime look bad.
Now, the sympathizers with the communist regime — who have always told everyone who would listen that Cubans have never had it so good — have declared that the lack of COVID vaccines and the embargo are the root cause of the protests. That’s odd; I haven’t heard the Cubans chant, “No embargo! No embargo!” or “Vaccines! Vaccines!”
The regime, of course, has used the embargo as the scapegoat for ruinous policies, and although none of the Cuban people believe it (after all, there are many countries that trade with Cuba), foreign leftists parrot the excuse. The current dictator blamed the embargo, of course.
To state the obvious: Communism has been a catastrophe to Cuba, to humanity.
In Cuba, the usual sickening pattern evolved: food shortage to the point of near starvation, dictatorship, censorship, repression, constant propaganda, absence of decent consumer goods, fraudulent elections, foreigners justifying and bootlicking the dictator. Imagine! Cuban sugar, famous for centuries for its abundance is nonexistent — and that is just one food item.
If you ever saw “Moscow on the Hudson,” the film with Robin Williams, there is a scene where the newly arrived Russian goes to a market to get some food. First, he asks where is the line to get food. Then, when he sees all the food available, he passes out in shock.
Though a comedy, the movie has a strong basis in fact. A Ukrainian friend of mine had a similar experience, and the shock seems to be a common reaction. Below is a video of a Cuban exile entering for the first time a Western grocery store and seeing all the available food.
The communist regime has every instrument of repression at its disposal. Food and medicine for the people? Not so much. Priorities, you see.
Tourists sympathetic to the regime — especially those Canadians who feel that their visiting Cuba is an act of defiance against America — are shown Potemkin villages and hospitals. It does not even matter if they happen to stray away and see the reality. They see only what they want to see.
Havana, however, used to be called the Paris of the Caribbean. To see what communism has done to the city, just look at the photo at the top of this article.
One last point: Some Cubans have been flying the Stars and Stripes alongside the Cuban flag during the protests in their country.
Four years ago, one lone Cuban interrupted a government parade by flying the American flag; he was sent to a mental institution as punishment. Other instances in Cuba have occurred. Iranians refuse to desecrate the American flag like their repressive regime encourages.
The American flag has also been flown in Hong Kong by people demanding freedom. Not the Mexican flag. Not the German flag. Not the Swedish flag. Not the French flag. Not the Canadian flag. Not the Egyptian flag. The American flag.
But pampered American students, lobotomized by their professors, cannot understand it. Meanwhile, American communists burn the American flag inside the U.S. and leftist athletes and other celebrities turn their back on it during the national anthem.