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It was perhaps one of the hottest days of this summer, over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, at some point we reached 97 degrees, yet there were thousands of Cubans who did not stop shouting “freedom”, “down with communism”, “the dictatorship must fall”.
Most of the Cubans who were gathered outside the White House on Monday, July 26, have not had an easy life. Enduring almost 100 degrees for a whole day, after spending the night in a park and 19 hours on a bus that brought them from Miami, is nothing for a people who have suffered, for decades, communism.
They were born on an island sunk in misery. In Cuba, from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, a dictatorship decides your life. From the work you can do, to the plate of food you put on your table, everything depends on the Castro regime.
In Cuba the little cattle that there is – in spite of communism – belongs to the state, that’s why there is only meat for the Castro regime. There is meat imported, but it is only to feed the tourists who stay in the luxurious hotels. The Cuban people cannot even enter those hotels, and even if they were allowed to, it is impossible for a normal Cuban to pay for a plate of food that tourists enjoy.
“I lived in communism for 30 years, to live in communism is to live without shoes, to live without milk at the age of seven, to live a childhood without meat, eating whatever you can get. To live in communism is not to live,” Barbara, a tiktoker who recently arrived from Cuba, told us.
The whole world needs to listen to the Cuban people. The propaganda apparatus of the Castro dictatorship is so powerful that the unwary around the world have been convinced that Cuba has an enviable health system, that there is no poverty and that everyone has opportunities. And many still believe that any problems the island may have are the fault of the “blockade”.
Cubans have decided to go out and tell the world the truth, they are shouting loud and clear: communism is misery.
“We have to put an end to communism, which brings misery, hunger and need for all peoples”, was one of the answers we were given when asked about communism.
Regarding the alleged “blockade”, which in reality is a trade embargo, the Cuban people explain that the island can trade with any other country, but they simply do not have products to do so because communism ended it all. They also point out to the clueless, that many American companies send medicines and food to the island.
“The blockade that the Cubans have is the one imposed by the regime, blocking the people. The embargo is not to blame, educate yourselves, don’t keep telling lies,” a Cuban-American who is studying law in the U.S. told us.
They are passionate about these issues, because they know that it is because of these counter-narratives, popularized by journalists who have never lived through the misery of communism, that the international community takes such pusillanimous positions in the face of a communist regime that has been enslaving the Cuban people for more than 60 years. That Monday, a cameraman was removed from Lafayette Square for lying about what the Cubans were asking for. He said they were asking for medicine and were against the embargo and the crowd chastised him until he was forced to leave.
The cameras that came to cover the demonstration outside the White House were always under the watchful eye of the demonstrators who paid attention to what each journalist said. They do not want their struggle and the blood that is being shed in Cuba to be used to defend the regime. They are not asking for an end to the embargo, they are not asking for vaccines, they are asking for the fall of the communist regime.
Cubans are fighting to overthrow the communist dictatorship and achieve their freedom, but at the same time they are teaching the world a great lesson. The Cuban people’s disdain for communism should be known to the whole world.
Their message is fundamental for young Americans who were born enjoying the benefits of capitalism and play at being the heroes of the world by promoting a system they have never lived in and which is to blame for the death of millions of people. The message of the Cubans is also fundamental for a Latin America that seems to be eager to live the misfortune that today the Cubans are trying to get out of their lives.
The whole world must listen to the stories of these people who have not eaten meat for years, who can only work in what the regime allows them, who cannot leave the island, who are imprisoned if they dare to say anything the dictatorship does not like.
The whole world should learn from the Cubans, those people who are capable of risking their lives, crossing the sea on a self-made raft, in order to escape from communism.
Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editor-in-chief of El American. Economist. Podcaster. Political and economic analysis of America. Colombian exile in the United States // Vanessa Vallejo. Co-editora en jefe de El American. Economista. Podcaster. Análisis político y económico de América. Colombiana exiliada en EE. UU.