Cuba woke up. After several decades of lethargy, Cubans massively took to the streets inside and outside the island to demand one thing: the fall of communism. “Freedom!”, “Down with the dictatorship”, “Díaz-Canel singao” were some of the cries against the Castro regime. However, after 62 years under a single-party model, unequivocally dictatorial, there are still people who side with the Cuban tyranny. These are the more than 400 artists, politicians, intellectuals and activists who, through a letter published in The New York Times, called on Joe Biden’s government to end the embargo against the communist dictatorship.
“It is time to take a new path forward in U.S.-Cuban relations. We, the undersigned, are making this urgent, public appeal to you to reject the cruel policies put into place by the Trump White House that have created so much suffering among the Cuban people,” reads the letter that was signed by various personalities, among the prominent names are: Brazilian ex-president Lula Da Silva —one of the founders of the Sao Paulo Forum, imprisoned for corruption cases at the time—, also Ecuadorian ex-president Rafael Correa, another prominent Latin American socialist politician, film director Oliver Stone, actor Mark Ruffalo, actresses Jane Fonda and Emma Thompson, intellectual Noam Chomsky and also Black Lives Matter; which previously published a communiqué full of lies in favor of the Castro regime.
The letter entitled Let Cuba Live, published in the Times last July 23, goes on to explain that, because of the United States, Cuba suffered too much from the coronavirus pandemic. At no point in the letter does the letter place responsibility on the Castro regime.
“Cuba —a country of eleven million people— is living through a difficult crisis due to the growing scarcity of food and medicine. Recent protests have drawn the world’s attention to this. While the Covid-19 pandemic has proven challenging for all countries, it has been even more so for a small island under the heavy weight of an economic embargo,” the letter reads. “We find it unconscionable, especially during a pandemic, to Intentionally block remittances and Cuba’s use of global financial institutions, given that access to dollars is necessary for the importation of food and medicine.”
This part of the letter lacks factual basis. First, the U.S. embargo only applies to American companies and Havana can make deals with 85% of the free world; furthermore, the embargo does not apply to medicines, food or humanitarian aid. In fact, the blockade of basic supplies is maintained by the Castro regime itself, which recently lifted its own restrictions allowing the entry into the country of basic necessities.
As if that were not enough, the U.S. embargo has a series of exceptions that allow a U.S. company to obtain a license to import products such as food, software, medicines, among other things, to the island. The U.S. exports to Cuba about $277 million a year -in value of goods- of which $180 million is food.
Despite these facts, the signatories insist that the government of former President Donald Trump is responsible for preventing the well-being of Cuban families.
“During the pandemic, Donald Trump’s administration tightened the embargo, pushed aside the Obama opening, and put in place 243 coercive measures that have intentionally throttled life on the island and created more suffering.” reads the letter. “The prohibition on remittances and the end of direct commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba are impediments to the wellbeing of a majority of Cuban families.”
“‘We stand with the Cuban people,'” you wrote on July 12. If that is the case, we ask you to immediately sign an executive order and annul Trump’s 243 ‘coercive measures,'” the signatories asked.
After calling on President Biden to return to Obama’s thaw policy, citing, in addition, the United Nations resolution to end the embargo, the signatories asked the Democratic administration to normalize relations with Havana: “We ask you to end the Trump “coercive measures and return to the Obama opening or even better, begin the process of ending the embargo and fully normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.”
A letter in favor of Castro’s tyranny
The Cuban communist regime, always led by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro, and today headed by dictator Miguel Diaz-Canel, has long enjoyed the support of artists, intellectuals and progressive personalities who do not support the Cuban cause, but rather the side of the boot that oppresses them.
The letter published in the New York Times not only contains lies driven by Castro propaganda, but deliberately ignores the hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans who have been protesting throughout the United States against communism, Castroism and also the leniency applied to the regime by the Biden administration.
On Monday, July 26, only three days after the letter was published, millions of Cuban Americans from all over the country, especially from Florida, came to Washington DC to demonstrate in front of the White House asking the Biden Administration to toughen its foreign policy against the Castro regime.
The demonstrations were joined by different representatives, among them, Congressmen Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), who also called for greater commitment from the U.S. Government towards Cubans.
“This White House must stand for freedom,” Crenshaw told the Cuban American community. “More than 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan demanded that the communists tear down the [Berlin] wall, and that’s what we need to hear Joe Biden say today.”
Likewise, Maria Elvira Salazar called for the reestablishment of connectivity so that Cubans can continue to denounce to the world the repression at the hands of Castro’s security forces.
“We need to do two things,” Salazar said in her message, “call the White House and ask (…) them to get involved and call the international community to stand with us. Number two, the most important thing, the immediate thing: we have to put internet. Why? Because the moment the Cuban people do not feel alone and know that the beatings, the tortures, the shootings and everything they are suffering, we are going to see it and there will be millions and millions of Cubans in the streets.”
Despite the fact that some media insist that Cubans are protesting only for medicine and food, the reality is that the people in Cuba rose up in unison demanding freedom.
“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,” said Barbara, a Cuban tiktoker who arrived in the United States only a short time ago. She is, like thousands, marching against tyranny.