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By I & I Editorial Board
Like an unwatched pot suddenly violently boiling over, Havana and other cities have erupted in defiant protests by Cubans fed up with living in their perpetually depressed tropical police state. True to form, the Castroite regime has already reflexively cracked down on the protests with brutality.
Cubans weary of being treated like animals without rights took to the streets, shouting “Freedom!” “Down with the dictatorship,” and, most pointedly, “Down with communism!” In some cases, protesters carried American flags. This was not an isolated demonstration: According to the Spanish-language data site Inventario, some 63 cities and towns were roiled by demonstrations on Sunday through early Monday.
Here in the U.S., some on the left initially tried to portray this as Cubans being upset over COVID-19 infections and a lack of vaccines. A State Department spokesperson styled it as Cubans “exercising their right to peaceful assembly … about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages.”
“We call for calm and condemn any violence,” Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, tweeted Sunday.
Nice try. To begin with, Cubans don’t have a “right to peaceful assembly,” nor any other real enforceable rights. All their rights depend on the government’s willingness to grant them. As for the demonstrations, the reasons plainly went well beyond a mere “medicine shortage.” Watch videos: You’ll see it has nothing to do with COVID-19.
Saying we “condemn any violence” is a joke. The Cuban people have lived under perpetual threat of actual violence committed by the Communist regime for 62 years.
In fact, the demonstrations were an outpouring of rage and disgust with the ongoing failures of communist rule. Videos of average Cubans standing in front of Communist Party headquarters, chanting “Cuba isn’t yours” and calling for President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down, shows they aren’t afraid.
Cuba’s government responded as expected: “The communist dictatorship … started cracking down on the protests, allegedly inflicting violence on the unarmed protesters and cutting off internet access,” wrote the Daily Wire.
Faced with the demonstrations Sunday, the Biden White House at first remained mum, deferring to the State Department’s inane pabulum referenced above. Realizing the scope of the uprising and understanding that it would be carefully read, Biden aides issued a much better statement Monday:
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Joe Biden said. “The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights.”
We give Biden credit for that statement, which will surely anger his party’s far left. But please remember, Biden, as Barack Obama’s vice president, supported “normalization” with Cuba’s regime. How’d that work out?
So far, the Democratic Party’s left wing has been quiet. Will America’s other Democratic leaders react? You know, the socialist “Woke” ones?
How about something from Obama? Or senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an unabashed admirer of both Cuba and the USSR? Or maybe Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman, all members of the Democratic Socialists of America?
Just two weeks ago, a delegation from Democratic Socialists traveled to Venezuela and “embraced” the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro. This was no rump group; a news report says the delegation included “the chairperson of the National Political Committee of the DSA, members of the International Committee, and members of the organization’s Political Formation, Foreign Policy and Bilateral Relations sections.”
This is who they are. Their silence now on Cuba speaks loudly.
It’s bizarre that failed socialism gets so much love in our nation’s capital. That our elected officials would be so ignorant of history and the tragedy of communism is alarming. And it’s sad that free American citizens are foolish enough to vote for socialists.
As Investor’s Business Daily noted four years ago on the 100th anniversary of communism:
These “socialist” ideas espoused by people like Sen. Bernie Sanders and his allies in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are the same ideas that have brought misery, poverty and loss of freedom in other countries. But somehow millions of American voters believe it would be different here.
A hundred years on, and communism isn’t dead, as many believed after the USSR’s collapse. It’s still alive, and so are the ideas that animate it. And while today’s political “socialism” and cultural “Marxism” pretend to be different, they really aren’t. To paraphrase George Santayana, we should remember communism’s many deep sins and tragic failures or suffer the ignominious fate of repeating them.
Cuba’s turmoil, just 90 miles away, should be a warning to all Americans: Chaos, violence, poverty and oppression are socialism’s inevitable result. Socialism isn’t just ineffective and wrong; it’s evil.
Author: Frances Rice