Will Cuba Finally Be Free?

Earlier today, demonstrations against Cuba’s Communist dictatorship broke out across the island. The New York Times, long an apologist for Castro’s tyranny, acknowledges the current reality:

Shouting “Freedom” and other anti-government slogans, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets in cities around the country on Sunday to protest food and medicine shortages, in a remarkable eruption of discontent not seen in nearly 30 years.

Heh. Yes, “Freedom” is an anti-government slogan. The Times, though, is pretty much always on the side of government, especially when the government is socialist.

“The people are dying of hunger!” one woman shouted during a protest filmed in the province of Artemisa, in the island’s west. “Our children are dying of hunger!”

One clip circulating on Twitter showed protesters overturning a police car in Cardenas, 90 miles east of Havana. Another video showed people looting from one of the much-detested government-run stores, which sell wildly overpriced items in currencies most Cubans do not possess.

In a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing.

Is a preference cascade beginning in Cuba? If so, the Communist tyranny could fall with breathtaking speed. But after 60 years, it is hard to be optimistic.

The Miami Herald has a sympathetic account of today’s protests:

In an unprecedented display of anger and frustration, thousands of people took to the streets Sunday in several cities and towns in Cuba, including Havana, to call for the end of the decades-old dictatorship and demand food and vaccines as shortages of basic necessities have reached crisis proportions and COVID-19 cases have soared.
Cuba is in the throes of its worst economic contraction in over three decades, as chronic inefficiencies and paralyzing bureaucracy have gradually eroded the country’s production capacity, including the essential food and agriculture sectors.

COVID-19 has added to Cuba’s woes:

Now Cuba is struggling to control transmission of the coronavirus and has been setting record highs almost daily in the past few weeks. Cuba decided to make its own COVID-19 vaccine and didn’t seek to buy shots from other countries. But plans to immunize the population with a homegrown vaccine have been plagued by delays.

Like the fact that they don’t have any syringes.

The Havana Times tries to put a positive face on Cuba’s travails. It is all the Americans’ fault, of course–although why, if Communism is a superior system, its survival should depend on the capitalist U.S., is never explained.

As noted above, Cuba has developed its own COVID vaccine. Whether it works or not I have no idea, but the immediate problem is that Cuba has no way to administer the vaccine because it lacks syringes–a classic socialist problem:

To date, some 6 million doses of the Abdala vaccine have been administered (three are needed to complete the treatment). But now, their vaccination efforts are hampered by a shortage of syringes.
Global Health Partners (GHP) reported that Cuba is in need of about 20 million syringes of which GHP has already supplied 4 million.

Out of respect for Cuba’s international medical contributions, that puts most wealthier countries to shame, I am calling on everyone to donate to help with the syringe shortage and Cuba’s medical efforts. You can donate through Global Health Partners. Here is the link to the fundraising page: https://ghpartners.org/syringes4cuba/

Cuba has a population of around 11 million, so the 20 million syringes for which the Communist regime has gone begging represent about two for each resident. Global Health Partners, by the way, is a left-wing organization that is headquartered in New York and left over from some earlier decade:

Global Health Partners (formerly Disarm) was founded in 1976 as a gun control group working to ban private ownership of handguns and require licensing of all rifles and shotguns. Our early efforts led to the creation of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. In the 1980s, GHP expanded to build broader opposition to nuclear weapons and the Strategic Defense Initiative. We were an early, persistent advocate for a reduction of the bloated military budget and the redirection of government resources to education, the alleviation of poverty, and other pressing human needs. GHP was also a prominent critic of Washington’s support of repressive regimes in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Throughout El Salvador’s long civil war, we worked to end U.S. military aid and support for the right-wing death squads, and helped build the movement to cut off U.S. support for the “contra” war in Nicaragua.

Like every socialist country, Cuba is a basket case with a stark contrast between a small but almost unbelievably rich ruling elite and a vast, impoverished population. Maybe the time has finally come when the people of Cuba can throw off the Communist yoke and rejoin the world. We can only hope so.

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