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Over two months have passed since the Cuban Uprising of July 11. On that Sunday, thousands of people in over fifty localities across the Island took to the streets to demand “Freedom” and “Down with Communism”. More than five thousand individuals were either imprisoned or investigated, according to 14ymedio. A brutal crackdown ensued. There are still over five hundred and five people detained and/or disappeared, fifteen of them minors, according to Cubalex, a human rights group. What has been the Biden-Harris response? A soft rapprochement with Castro-Communism is what is in the works.
The Biden-Harris administration committed itself, on July 22, to having “study groups” recommend six different policy initiatives regarding the Cuban Uprising. Of the six, two have nothing to do with satisfying the calls for freedom and justice by the Cuban people, three are pointless as they have been tainted and are ideologically tabulated, and one is a moot point at this stage. Let us examine the irrelevant ones first.
Restaffing the U.S. Embassy in Havana and reviewing the remittance policy does not address the need for systemic change in Cuba, which was the thrust of the protesting Cubans claims. The demands were not for exit visas to the U.S., or calls for food, vaccines, or medicines. Therefore, increasing the diplomatic staff has no bearing on the problem at hand unless the Biden-Harris government is planning on reversing Obama’s killing of the preferential migratory status that Cuban’s previously enjoyed and opening America’s borders to another mass exodus. Additionally, exposing Americans to the unsolved Havana Syndrome sonic attacks would be most negligent.
Exploring ways to allow for the increase of remittances from Cuban Americans, without the communist dictatorship’s state-operated enterprises skimming off its hefty 74% share, might be a noble venture, if possible. Yet this does not address the problem. The Cuban people — who risked everything to publicly exercise their natural rights and express their frustrations with having a sixty-year-old Marxist-Leninist regime in power — were civilly petitioning in the public domain for political, civil, and human rights. Calls for material improvements, even those of basic needs, were visibly absent in the epic nationwide demonstrations.
The three pointless Biden-Harris policy initiatives, as they were programmed and carried out, are the targeting sanctioning of certain regime individuals and institutions; engaging with the international community; and meetings with a non-pluralistic representation of the Cuban American community. Cuban communism, as a functioning tyranny, lays its endurance to systemic reasons, not isolated individuals, or singularized institutions. Yes, in Weberian terms, it has had a leadership configuration that is both sultanic (highly personalistic) and dynastical. North Korea and Syria quickly come to mind as good comparisons. However, the Castro-Communist model is a totalitarian system. As such, its institutions are all dictatorial, politically driven, and organically connected. The Biden-Harris approach, in this regard, is a joke.
When Biden-Harris speak of “international engagement”, the question becomes, are they talking about resolute military and/or confrontational action strategies or the release of public statements with strong language but sterile effectivity? In other words, written or verbal condemnations that serve only as sophistry, or a determined policy to produce a regime change in Cuba? Over two months of empirical evidence supports the argument that involving the O.A.S., U.N., or any other international institution, in the case of Cuba, means simply nonsensical gibberish that serves to disguise cowardice.
As far as “listening to Cuban American leaders”, the third pointless exercised initiative, Biden-Harris seem to only have been interested in having a domesticated, monolithic discussion. For the most part, judging from the list of “leaders” they claim represents Cubans in the U.S. and included in that “conversation”, there was a severe underrepresentation of conservative, non-leftist, pro embargo Cubans (do they know most Cuban Americans vote Republicans). To be more precise, most of the Cuban Americans that met with the White House and/or other high-ranking administration representatives in Washington and Miami, are sentimentally converged with Barack Obama’s Democratic Party. This is to say, they are pro U.S.-Cuba détente relations supporters.
The last Biden-Harris initiative towards Cuba following the popular mass protests, the Internet access facilitation for Cubans on the Island, is a conjectural project that the White House has used for scoring points. Some well-intended politicians have also stressed on this issue. Yet, even if technologically feasible and logistically possible to bypass the Castro regime’s distribution control centers, the strategic moment to have implemented was much earlier. Since betrayal has become a matter of state policy in Biden/Harris’ America, no Cuban should be surprised by the impotency with which the U.S. has dealt with the Cuban Uprising and what the Internet, in fact, achieved.
While most, but not all, of these study groups have yet to render a “recommendation”, the only concrete result of the Biden-Harris response to the nascent national, popular, civil liberation rebellion in Cuba, has been a stealth rapprochement strategy. The only reasons it is not being done openly are Florida and the 2022 midterm elections. During the first seven months of 2021, Castro-Communism has imported from the U.S. nearly double the amount that it did in that timeframe in 2020 (88% more, to be exact). The last time Communist Cuba increased its imports from American vendors was the prelude leading up to the Obama-Castro engagement announcement.
The recent September 7 through 9 visits to Cuba by Cardinal Seán Patrick O´Malley, Archbishop of Boston and close associate of Pope Francis, was met with much disappointment by ordinary Cubans. Not a word about the repression or lack of freedoms. Only expressions of admiration for Cuba’s “healthcare system”, as reported by Dagoberto Valdés Hernández in ADN Cuba. The Vatican under the stewardship of the current pope was closely involved in the secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the Castro dictatorship. Will history be repeated? The wall of contention is the 2022 midterm. Hopefully, a Republican tsunami will save America and rekindle hope for the Cuban people.
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.