The US needs to leave Cuba alone, NOW.
Any western policymaker claiming that some sort of interventionism is the solution the Cuban people want is lying to you.
Debates about Cuba pop up on the left with a lot of frequency, and my approach is when it comes to the western left, can we really judge? This is a place where the US has imposed crushing sanctions for decades, and constantly attempted to undermine and subvert the system in place there, not out of any sort of democratic impulse, but because of their opposition to a country committed to the emancipation of its working class citizens, and one that’s still intact 60+ years on. I’m not here to discuss whether Cuba is “good” or “bad”, or the “right and good” or “wrong and nasty” form of socialism, or to hand wring about things without any historical or socio-political context, as is so often the way with so called leftists from the west, I’m simply here to say my piece on what we should all be opposing when it comes to this unfolding situation.
People have been taking to the streets shouting “down to the dictatorship” swiftly countered by working class people out defending the revolution and the legacy of Cuban socialism. So what are the motivating forces behind the anti-regime protesters? Well, if history is anything to go by, the anti-Cuban media operation will be out in force, with various bourgeois property owner liberals in the state swearing Cuba is “tyranny” that they had to flee from, and that the US is a paradigm of all virtue that should intervene in Cuba. The US government will 100% be working to take advantage of the situation and undermine Cuba to get it under their geopolitical thumb, and it’s wholly plausible some of these protesters are US backed or US plants; going from history it has to be considered.
From the Morning Star today: “The Cuban leader said he had listened to the people but warned that the main instigators of the protests wanted a return to the neoliberal economic model that has seen poorer countries denied access to the coronavirus vaccine”. And therein lies the problem. There is mass frustration in Cuba because of the economic situation right now, you have rising COVID cases and a slowing vaccine rollout, coupled with food shortages, something that would be more than enough to get people angry and out onto the street in the UK or the US. But let’s remember how Cuba has managed to shield its people from the neoliberal scavenger so many neighbouring nations have endured.
The solutions being proposed by the US backed protesters (who aren’t nearly as representative of the Cuban population, or nearly as large scale, as is being portrayed in western media) would make the current situation look like a picnic. This wouldn’t be liberation, it would be the infrastructure of Cuban society ravaged and sold off for parts, with the mass immiserating of the population for the ensuing decades, while wealthy corporations in foreign lands make a killing. The Cuban people know this, and that’s why so many have taken to the streets to defend that original revolution and its legacy; the Cuban people don’t want western backed neoliberalism.
As the Morning Star reported this morning “Cuban opposition organisations have received more than $16.5 million (£12m) in grants from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) since 2017, and 54 organisations were named as being in receipt of US funding, often channelled through the National Endowment for Democracy and USAid. They included the Centre for a Free Cuba, the Cuban Human Rights Observatory and the Cuban Institute for the Freedom of Expression and the Press”, this whole this is bad faith and instigated by western agitators, both as astroturfed Cuban resistance to the regime, but also just by taking advantage of anger at the situation in Cuba to further a cause the Cuban public don’t support.
Cuba’s political and economic system is clearly very flawed, and far from what I’d view as the ideal framework for the emancipation of the working class, but what the US want would be so much worse. Cuba is a flawed vision of socialism, the US wants disaster capitalism. Look at Haiti, or look at the old days of Vietnam and the atrocities done in the name of freedom; the people suffer in these disastrous interventions, and any incursion by the US must be opposed by everyone on the left with the upmost vigour; calling for regime change in Cuba couldn’t be playing into the State Department’s hands more.
The number one demand we must all make in response to this situation is an end to the brutal US-imposed sanctions suffocating the Cuban economy; the reason they won’t do this is they would be thriving if they did. A blockade has been in place since 1959, at the cost of $753 billion for the Cuban economy; therein lies the problem, and therein lies the solution.