The Cuban people’s rise against the sixty-two-year-old communist dictatorship is epic and without precedent. Hundreds have disappeared. Some have already been handed down severe prison sentences in truly socialist kangaroo courts. Crimes against humanity, an established international legal standard and categorization, are being blatantly committed as part of the Castro regime’s brutal crackdown. America, a country synonymous with universal values, is historically entangled with Cuba and separated by 90 miles of water. Here are five things the United States must know about the Cuban Uprising and Cuba.
1- Cuba does not have a remittance problem.
Cuba does not have a remittance problem. Cuban communism, on the other hand, does have a remittance problem. It needs the 74% it pockets from every dollar sent. Cuba’s problem is the absence of freedom. This is the reason thousands of unarmed, unmasked, Cubans took to the streets on July 11th across nearly fifty localities across the Island, demanding their natural right to be free. By telling the tyrants in power, in public spaces and without reservation “Down with Communism,” “Down with the Dictatorship,” “Freedom,” they knew full well that the price would be atrocious. The Cuban Uprising that began that Sunday, is the continuation of a long liberation struggle that, while varying in tactical methodology, began on January 1st, 1959.
2- Liberation is not nation-building.
The United States often throughout history has been involved in nation-building. This was the intended case, for example, in Iraq and Afghanistan. This, however, would not be the case in Cuba. For fifty-six years, the Republic of Cuba enjoyed an imperfect, but functional free, open, and plural society governed under generally democratic norms that, for most of its republican history, paralleled that at that moment of countries we recognize today as industrial democracies. Additionally, Cuba would not be starting from scratch. The Cuban nation includes over two million of its thirteen million citizens that live in exile, mostly in the United States, that have remained to this day morally, spiritually, and anthropologically connected to Cuba. Cubans everywhere want nothing less than a free and democratic country.
3- Immigration privileges is no substitute for freedom in Cuba.
Cubans have been generously privileged by American immigration policy. A basic blanket admission of people from Cuba seeking legal entry into America as valid freedom seekers desiring to leave communist oppression has been the case, for most of the Castro regime’s timeline. While some have argued that this exceptional treatment was a reactive mea culpa measure in response to the Bay of Pigs invasion betrayal by the Kennedy Administration, the fact remains that Cubans are grateful for this exceptional treatment. In no manner, however, does this mean that those on the Island would forgo the opportunity of living free inside their own country, in exchange for an American exit visa.
4- Targeting individuals instead of the regime will solve nothing.
Punishing individuals by way of targeted sanctions, as has been done against criminal elements in Venezuela and Nicaragua, is well purposed but ill-focused. It fails for two paramount reasons. The evil in Cuba (as in Venezuela and Nicaragua) is systemic. It is not a group of thugs, but a barbaric system that employs a host of institutions that constitute a regime. Nothing officially moves in Cuba without the Party/State dictatorial approval and instruction. The Political Bureau of the Cuban Communist Party, the Council of Ministers, and the top echelon of the communist armed forces and state security work as a unison entity. The second factor is that by placing sanctions only on individuals, those marked carry the culpability, relieving subordinates of accountability for criminal activity.
5- Intervention for purposes of liberation is historically validated and morally justified.
The United States should know full well the importance of intervention by foreign countries on behalf of a just cause. In addition to bearing 90% of the armament costs for the separatist army that General George Washington commanded in the American Revolutionary War, France also supplied troops, naval support, military training, and logistical assistance. Spain also sent troops, money, and arms. Europe, during the two World Wars, welcomed enthusiastically American troops and involvement.
International factors and geopolitical decisions which technically fall into the classification of “interventions” are inherently embedded in history. Any claim to the contrary is illusional. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, the drug cartels all collude and concurrently intervene in Cuban affairs. The socialist continental axis of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia’s FARC and ELN, and the radical left’s movements across the globe, all intervene on behalf of the Castro-Communist dictatorship and against the captive Cuban people.
Freedom, republican governance, and the stability that comes with it, both regional and globally, can only survive through solidarity, which often may involve the use of belligerent force or its threat. The Truman and Reagan Doctrines were America’s state instruments in its just war against socialism. The fall of the Berlin Wall set forth a transmutation of communism/socialism, that the Free World seems unable to fight off. This must change. Perhaps Cuba offers an opportunity to regain democratic solidarity and reinsert a policy of effective socialist rollback.