By Dr. Harold A. Black
The recent protests by Cubans against their repressive government highlighted stark contrasts that have been largely ignored in the media.
First, such protests are rare in dictatorial socialist governments because the people are afraid of their government. The penalties are imprisonment, torture, beatings and even death. No such fears exist in the United States (unless you are on the right and protesting at the US Capitol). This past summer we saw rioting, looting and mob violence where most of the participants went free. They were certainly not afraid of their government.
Second, few noted the irony of Cuban protestors with American flags and American face masks contrasted with the burning of American flags by Antifa and Black Lives Matter in the streets of our cities. Cubans want most what Americans take for granted – freedom.
Third, the blaming of the Cuban protests on America by socialists such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Marxists Black Lives Matter who claimed that the US embargo was the source of Cuban discontent. If that were the case then why were Cubans carrying American flags rather than burning them? Moreover, the US embargo doesn’t restrict Cuba from trading with the rest of the world. If the Cuban government were interested in having the embargo lifted, then they would have instituted democratic reforms. But of course, this would mean giving up power and their ability to expropriate from the Cuban people.
Fourth, although the pictures of the Cuban protestors may not be accurate it was striking to me that most appeared to be black. This provided a contrast to the comments of AOC and BLM. Afro-Cubans will tell you that Cuba is not a racial paradise. Rather, most of the high government officials are of European descent as are members of the military, business and banking hierarchies. Afro-Cubans occupy the lowest level jobs and the worse housing. While the American left and Marxists are eager to pin the racist label on the United States, they are loath to do so in the socialist “paradises” like Cuba and China.
Fifth, I would wager than the Cuban protestors wished that the outcome of the US election had been different. Although, somewhat shockingly President Biden referred to Cuba as a “failed state” and communism a “failed system” the US has been slow to act on behalf of the protestors. Does anyone doubt that a Trump administration would have taken more forceful actions? It will now be interesting to see if the left condemns Biden for speaking the obvious about Cuba and communism.
Socialism is a system that offers minorities the least chance of economic advancement and fosters dependency upon government largesse. This dependence creates disincentives to wean oneself off the government dole. However, this condemns people to substandard living conditions which engenders resentment toward the successful and the wealthy.
We are seeing this play out in Cuba much like we saw it play out in our streets during 2020. The only difference is that any protests in Cuba will be met by government repression and less freedom (see China’s Tiananmen Square and present day Hong Kong). I once again ask the question, “Why would any rational person want to live in such an system?”