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In 2021, events in Cuba paradoxically ran in a counter direction to happenings in the rest of Latin America. While far-left movements gained power or momentum throughout the region, the island was a hotbed of open mass resistance against the now sixty-three-year-old communist dictatorship. Given the fact that Latin American socialism is imperialistically commandeered from Havana, this situation is ironic but, nonetheless, a cold fact. In 2022, Cuba could (or should) go in the direction of further regime decay and weakening.
The year 2021 ended with up to 13,000 political prisoners and convicts in Cuba, according to Prisoners Defenders (PDO). Considering that the Castro-Communist penal code issues “pre-criminal” sentences, many Cubans have been languishing in prison for “crimes” which were never actually committed. The Marxist-Leninist regime’s state policy of criminalizing acts based on suspected intent greatly magnifies the prison population.
The Spanish-based human rights monitoring NGO added in the cited January 4, 2022, report that 955 individuals were added to the Cuban communist political prison system. Of the 842 still suffering in captivity, over 700 are from the 11th of July Cuban Uprising (11J) and the March for Civic Change of November 15 (15N). Cubalex, a legal service and human rights group, places the exact amount at 710. PDO noted that 387 prisoners have already been sentenced, with 132 having been levied with “sedition” charges which typically carry 20 years to life sentences. Half of the 32 minors sentenced were convicted under “sedition” verdicts. 137 prisoners prosecuted under non-sedition charges face jail time of over 10 years. 107 of this political prisoner group are women.
With this backdrop and even though the 11J mass demonstrators faced a brutal crackdown, as these barbaric long-term sentences reveal, last November witnessed 353 protests across the island, as per the Cuban Conflict Observatory. 274 of these public acts of discontent were carried out before or after the 15N event. The Cuban people are clearly in opposition to the continuity of communist rule.
A military solution to Cuba’s liberation, under no circumstance, should be rejected. The only reason German or Russian is not the official international language today is because lethal force confronted the menace of fascism and Soviet communism. Given the chronic cowardice exhibited by many of today’s democratic leaders, there are other strategic options that are more probable of standing a chance of being implemented. On December 18, 2021, the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, a coalition of Cuban exile and opposition organizations, drafted a set of objectives to follow and titled a Declaration of the Workshop for the Freedom of Cuba (Declaration). This policy formulation, despite its brevity, encapsulates a comprehensive approach to helping Cuba be free.
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The Declaration focuses on nine initiatives that would go a long way in aiding Cuban freedom. The commonality of all these measures is not just about securing resource deprivation to frustrate state terrorism and other regime-sustaining mechanisms but fuses them with moral principles. This is most important. Successful democratization processes that follow liberation have demonstrated that the institutionalization of republican instruments of power rest on a valid democratic ethos.
The Cuban Communist Party is called out for being, as its legalism affirms, the entity responsible for sustaining the tyrannical situation in Cuba. Its role as “the guiding force of the entire Cuban society and State” (Article 5 of the Cuban Communist Constitution) must face accountability. The Castro regime has historically received funding, not just from allies such as the former USSR and Chavez-Maduro’s Venezuela, but also from democratic public and private institutions such as the European Union, the Paris Club, the London Club, and another state, regional, and international agencies. Considering its immoral practice of leasing Cuban workers and siphoning off 75-92% of their wages, a neo-slave practice that violates international labor covenants, decent behavior warrants an immediate cessation of financing evil.
Foreign investors that partner with the communist dictatorship are accomplices. The Declaration raises awareness that the likelihood of trafficking in stolen property, a clear violation of American and international law, is almost unavoidable when one does business in communist Cuba. Tourism, an important source of revenue for the Castro regime, will be targeted. The utilization of cultural mechanisms to promote Cuban communism throughout will be challenged. Host nations that subscribe to republican principles will be made aware of the whitewashing objectives of these cultural brigades. Free countries should keep out representatives of Cuba’s ruling dictatorship. Legal travel status should be denied. This is privileged that aggressors of liberty must not have. Additionally, the Declaration’s signers commit to establishing around the democratic globe, a structured presence by way of Special Committees to monitor and enforce these principles.
Castro-Communism maintains itself through terror at home, a falsified image abroad, and a keen intelligence and counterintelligence operation in both. This has an enormous cost. In the absence of other proven, time-tested strategies of liberation, closing all financial spigots that sponsor state terrorism is fundamental in assisting the Cuban people chart their path towards freedom.
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.