Latin America World

Cuba is No Bastion of Democracy

An article published last month in the New York Times described the communist nation of Cuba as a country that has the opportunity to compete with the United States as a bastion of democracy, while simultaneously declaring that America can no longer lay claim to being “the democratic bastion it once was.”

While the latter may one day be true if we allow our constitution to be trampled upon, it’s ludicrous to state or even compare the communist Castro regime to America.

Cuba is no bastion of democracy by any stretch of the imagination, nor will they ever become one as long as Cuba’s communist regime continues to imprison dissidents, starve its people, and deny basic human rights to its citizens. To claim otherwise is absurd.

Many seem to be blind to the fact that the Communist regime in Cuba is in fact Communist. There is no socialist utopia in Cuba, and the “revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat” envisioned by Karl Marx is more of a lie than socialism itself.

There is no freedom of speech or freedom of expression in Cuba; much less any political freedom to oppose the communist regime without being imprisoned. Almost 10,000 dissidents were arrested in 2015 and 2016, and last year nearly 3,000 dissidents were arrested, with the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), which is headed by opposition leader Elizardo Sánchez, confirming that in the last month of 2018 there were 176 arbitrary detentions. Likewise, nearly 140 of the dissidents detained in 2018 were held “in prisons and internment camps under conditions that the Commission describes as ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading.’”

In addition to the thousands of political arrests on the island, which always lead to brutal beatings on the streets like those which occurred to the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), and other pro-democracy demonstrators during Obama’s visit on the island, the UN Watch states that during the last ten years of Raul Castro as the head of Communist regime, “twelve human rights’ defenders have been killed or disappeared, some quite evidently at the hands of authorities, [while others were killed] in circumstances that suggest an extrajudicial killing by state agents.”

Furthermore, not only does Cuba not allow for basic freedom of conscious, it also controls the “private sector” (which is practically non-existent) and is, according to the Heritage Foundation, one of the worst countries in regards to economic freedom. With the communist state controlling most of the means of production and the regime “dependent on subsidized oil from Venezuela and Russia,” there are no signs that Cuba is, or will ever be, a “bastion of democracy.”

In addition to its abysmal record on human rights and economic freedom, Cuba is also responsible for spreading its disastrous and backwards ideology in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and other Latin American countries. This further demonstrates that the Cuban regime is not interested in democracy. They are not interested in “burying the last remnants of the cold war”, as Obama proudly gloated as he attempted to normalize relations with the Castro regime, they are looking to expand it.

A perfect example of this is their involvement in the collapse of Venezuela. Once one of the richest Latin American countries, it now is on the brink of collapse as the Dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro gutted the country of its resources through the continued implementation of the socialist agenda envisioned by Hugo Chavez.

Hugo Chavez in 1998 was elected “on a socialist platform, pledging to use Venezuela’s vast oil wealth to reduce poverty and inequality,” but it ultimately ended up backfiring on him as as he drained his oil reserves and doubled the government’s debt.

Chavez, following in the footsteps of Fidel Castro, “effectively took control of the Supreme Court, harassed the press and closed independent outlets, and nationalized hundreds of private businesses and foreign-owned assets,” which has ultimately led Venezuela into the current humanitarian crisis it finds itself in.

Venezuela’s current humanitarian crisis should be a sign to all that (1) socialism does not work; and (2) the Communist regime in Cuba is not ready for change.

I write this with a heavy heart: In my 27 years I have not once been to Cuba, the birth country of both of my parents. I have no connection with my parents’ families, and after decades away from their home country, neither do they.

The Communist regime has torn Cuban-American families apart.

I would love for Cuba to rise above the grasp of the Castro regime and claim for itself the beauty of freedom and democracy. I long for the day when I can take my parents to Cuba so that they can show me where they grew up. But I will not travel to Cuba as long as the communist regime is still in power. I will not walk the streets of Cuba, looking over my shoulder with my mouth closed because I can’t express my disgust for the regime that is starving its people.

I will not travel to a country that imprisoned my family for trying to escape and come to America and I will not travel to a country that has torn my family apart. I will not give them the satisfaction of taking my money or my belongings if they feel like it, and I will never give the Castro regime a cent of my money so that they can use it to continue to oppress the beautiful people of Cuba.

Cuba is no bastion of democracy. It is the proof of the disasters of the socialist utopia that radical progressives in America envision. The Cuban people may one day be able to hold in its hands the democracy it deserves, and when that day does come I know that the United States will be by the people’s side, not holding its hands high with the Castro regime.

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