In the silence of the left, protests continue in Cuba against the dictatorship of President Miguel Díaz-Canel guilty of mismanagement of the pandemic and an economic crisis.
For several days they have been continuing in Cuba, shouting “Homeland Y Vida“, the protests against the government President Miguel Díaz-Canel, whose resignation is being called for loudly. These protests, the largest and most participated from those of 1959 where the revolutionaries under the leadership of Fidel Castro conquered the country, they resulted above all from the great economic crisis that grips the island from which the lack of food, of basic necessities that is intertwined with a very ambiguous management of the pandemic.
The latter, however, in Cuba dreamed of by the Western orphans of the left of the past, have been suppressed with a massive intervention by the army, with the arrests of hundreds of demonstrators and with a blocking the internet connection in order to prevent the dissemination of videos and images of the protests online. To this block was added after that of the main social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In all this time perhaps something has changed in Cuba too…
The conditions in which Cuba finds itself: between the economic and health crisis and the American embargo
under the images and posters of Fidel and Che Guevara in today’s Cuba, among the various daily blackouts, the long lines in front of supermarkets approved by the government: in addition to freedom, food is lacking above all, since even black market prices have become too high. Suffice it to say that according to the former economist of the Cuban central bank, Pavel Vidal Alejandro, in recent months in Cuba inflation rose by 500 %. But why is there a shortage of groceries?
Cuba imports the 70 % of food consumed and so due to the health emergency prices have grown all over the world (in April 2020 a liter of orange juice was worth just over 2 dollars while a liter of oil less than 8 cents), the Venezuela’s aid has decreased and on the island the annual sugar cane harvest has been almost completely ruined. Elements that are going to be included in the Cuba’s state economic model where day-to-day macroeconomic policy consists of centralised control of systematically induced deficiencies.
Thus, to the centralized Russian model similar to that of the now disappeared dictatorships of Eastern Europe, in this already very delicate context we are adding also the health crisis resulting from the pandemic. Although the Cuban one is one of the best health systems in the Americas, the Cuban government failed to guarantee the appropriate treatment since, as some protesters claimed in a video released on social media, “it is useless that there are doctors if there are no medicines.” Criticism also linked to the propagandistic use, albeit useful, of Cuban doctors sent to various countries of the world (including Italy) during the pandemic.
However, a large part of the country’s situation can also be traced back to the American embargo which since 2001 has prohibited any method of financing food purchases and allows Cuba to buy food only in cash and in dollars. The same Americans who have always tried to influence the country in a negative way by refusing to promote and follow the path of democracy.
What remains after 70 years of dictatorship: between socialism and poverty
After 70 years of dictatorship in the country, the time has perhaps come, even for the left of our house, to open our eyes to the Cuban situation: an island dominated by poverty and the dream of emigrating, which, however, is swallowed up by that soviet political and economic model. In fact, in the utopian island, there are no independent trade unions, there is still a official newspaper (Granma) operated by the Communist Party and committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) for, as Fidel Castro once said: “know who everyone is, what each person who lives in the block does, what relationship he has had with tyranny, what he dedicates himself to, who he meets and what activities he follows“.
It may seem trivial, but it is not at all: did you know that own a mobile phone in Cuba did it only become legal in 2008? Not only that: only since 2018, data traffic on smartphones has been enabled, before Cubans had to connect to expensive public Wi-Fi where uploading photos or videos was almost impossible. In this perspective, the blocking of the internet connection made by government forces during the beginning of the protests is also framed.
Life situation certainly not utopian where the Cuba of the past, bulwark against U.S. aggression, has given way to a president who during his bizarre television appearances even accused former star Mia Khalifa of working in tandem with the U.S. government to try to encourage protests in the country.
From all this it is clear and evident how the western left and in particular the local one who, lately, has not opened her mouth on the events in Cuba should side with the 11 million Cubans who have waited 70 years for the right to interfere in the internal affairs of their country at the mercy of a now decrepit dictatorship.