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5 Reasons Castroism Lost the 15N Pro-Freedom Protests

Castrismo, El American

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Did anyone really expect a repeat of the 11th of July Popular Uprising (11J) on November 15 for the Civic March for Change (15N)? This could hardly have been reasonably expected considering that Castro-Communism utilizes a totalitarian regime as its systemic mode of operation and there was ample time for them to reactively plot against this. The fact that Cuban streets were not full of protesters does not mean that the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship has much to celebrate. Yes, socialist tyranny will live to see another day. However, here are 5 reasons why Castroism lost on 15N. 

1. Totalitarianism’s Qualitative Decay

For dictatorships to achieve permanency, there is no better model of organizing society and political power than a totalitarian regime. This does not mean that they are immutable. It simply indicates that their effectiveness requires a complete domination format that can offer pristine social predictability and domestication.

The 11J Cuban people’s peaceful insurrection demonstrated that Cuban communism’s totalitarian framework is rotting. Think of North Korea. No popular massive demonstrations have occurred in the Hermit Kingdom. Why? Because the traditional instruments of totalitarian repression and control are still able to render North Korean society alienated and atomized for purposes of political liberation. In Cuba, the virus of the totalitarian rule was decimated. One can say Cubans on the island have achieved herd immunity from communism’s defenestration illness.   

2. State Terrorism Committed Before the World’s Eyes

Castro-Communism runs a parasitic dictatorship. It needs the benefits it reaps, direct or indirect, from its relationship with the free world. Archipiélago, the civic opposition group that organized the 15N event, followed all the Castro regime’s “legal” rules according to the dictatorship’s socialist legalism mumbo-jumbo. Nonetheless, they were not “allowed” to peacefully gather in the public realm.

The Marxist-Leninist state had to mobilize parastate militias mobs and other undercover political police thugs to physically impede Cubans from leaving their homes. While this barbarism is common practice in Cuba, it has placed Castroism in the difficulty of committing gross human rights violations, not in the secrecy of undocumented state terrorism acts, but in broad daylight. Traditional apologists and other timid Western critics of Cuban communism have been in a difficult spot. On November 15, Cuba was the main news feed on the planet. 

3. The Enormous Cost of Repressing

The following are just some of the increased expenditures that Castro-Communism had to bear to keep people from peacefully marching: locking down Cuba; instilling a large-scale mobilization of state-sponsored hoodlums to attack the citizenry and close off entire sections of cities and towns; interrupting the internet (revenue loss); intensifying domestic and foreign espionage operations; and activating sophisticated surveillance mechanisms (think sonic attacks) to intercept conversations. If this was to be expended every day, the Cuban regime could not meet the costs for a sustained time. The Soviet Union, to a certain degree, imploded because of its inability to meet its operational costs.

4. The Same Nonsensical Embargo, Anti-American Rhetoric         

Cuba was closed for business with the impending 15N activities, given the Castro regime’s perceived threat from these tentative public demonstrations of discontent. The systemic choreography of heightening a military alert, unseen in decades, is a clear indication of the communist dictatorship’s insecurities. In other words, survivorship fear is resonating in the centers of political power.

Yet, the exclusive rationalized response from the oppressors of Cuban freedom was to blame the U.S. embargo, the American government, and American businesses like Facebook for the instability on the island. This is most absurd, as they know full well that their biggest enemy is the people of Cuba. It tells us that Cuban communism has totally run out of logical arguments. The same old fabricated bogeyman persists. 

5. No More Business as Usual

Accustomed for decades to manipulating U.S. foreign policy with immigration inundations, Castroism’s fortune appears to have turned sour. So sure was the communist dictatorship that Hillary Clinton would win in 2016, that they pressured Barack Obama to effectively kill the immigration privileges that Cubans officially enjoyed by amending the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 on January 17, 2017, one of his last executive acts as president.

Why would Havana want the practically guaranteed entry of Cubans into the United States stopped and risk lessening the profitable remittances’ industry, as well as risk instability by maintaining within the national boundary discontented citizens? Cuban communism knows full well that the stigma of preferred immigration status for Cubans lay with their condition as a ruthless Marxist-Leninist state. They believed that a Clinton victory would build on the Castro-Obama Pact. Image is vital.

As it turned out, the Republican candidate won. Donald Trump tightened the embargo, activated the seminal parts of the Helms-Burton Act (for the first ever), reclassified Castro-Communism in the terrorist category, thereby denying access to potential American taxpayer credits and loans, but did not reverse Obama’s functional termination of immigration exceptions for Cubans. The socialist regime on the island got the worst of both worlds. Now they are feeling the pain, as Cubans are demanding to end communist despotism and not seeking ways to emigrate.  


Cuba was functionally shut down on Monday, November 15. Anyone and everyone believed to be potentially participating in the 15N civic marches was forcefully cloistered in their homes by parastate militia mobs or detained by the political police.

Days before the 15N events were to take place, state security operatives made it their mission to warn potential protesters that they could go to jail, be fired from their job, and/or lose social “benefits” like medical and food supply access. Scheduled areas where the marches were to take place, were taken over by armed military units who closed off all the selected sections for the peaceful protests. Internet was cut. The over 600 people still in prison for the 11J demonstrations, were isolated and harassed in jail. In sum, Cuba was wholly under siege. The Castro-Communist dictatorship knows that time is against them. The Cuban people know that it is on their side.     

Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.

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