On July 11 residents of San Antonio de los Baños, a small Cuban city southwest of Havana, about the size of Rome, New York, rose in protest against the Communist regime that has ruled the island of Cuba for more than a half century. Hundreds of citizens marched in complaint about the oppressiveness of the regime, governmental corruption, and the lack of basic food and medicine as the number of Covid cases spiraled upward in their midst. Inhabitants of scores of other Cuban towns and cities followed suit, presenting the regime, now headed by Miguel Díaz-Canel, with a formidable and unprecedented challenge to its rule. Law & Liberty, an online website devoted “to examining the first principles of a free society,” commissioned Juliana Pilon, Senior Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), to explain the unrest.
Dr. Pilon begins “What Does the Left Think About Cuba Now?” by warning readers not to expect an accurate portrayal of events from this country’s mainstream media. Reuters, for example, claimed the protests derived in part from “curbs” on “civil liberties. “[O]ne cannot ‘curb,’” she retorts, “what doesn’t exist.” As one elderly Cuban woman shouted at risk of her life, “For over 60 years, we’ve been lied to and cheated, and this must end. We’re taking off the cloak of silence.” Many progressive outlets in this country have whitewashed events by adopting the official line of the Cuban dictatorship, which, of course, blames sanctions by the United States or the policies of Donald Trump for the explosion of insular complaint. Food and medicine, as Dr. Pilon points out, are exempt from US sanctions.
Dr. Pilon stresses that the brutality of the Cuban regime, whose internal security apparatus has received high marks from experts across the globe, poses a test for progressives in this country and elsewhere. They cannot easily remain silent in the wake of a wave of repression against the protesters.
She has reason to be pessimistic. BLM quickly took a public stand in favor of the regime.