During a recent White House press conference, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “Do you think people are leaving Cuba because they don’t like communism?”
Psaki responded, “I think we’ve been pretty clear … they are opposed to the oppression to the mismanagement of the government in the country.”
After Doocy again asked whether communism was the central issue, Psaki responded that she was “not sure what the question is.”
Quite obviously, the question directly had to do with whether the Biden administration was prepared to denounce tyrannical communist oppression – rather than government “mismanagement” – for causing economic collapse that provoked this latest mass Cuban uprising.
Furthermore, when asked whether President Biden will speak about the anti-communist uprising in Cuba, Psaki replied “not at this time.”
Cuban-American U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pointed out that this is “an unprecedented organic movement,” while “one senior State Department official laughably attributed the protests to ‘concern about rising COVID cases, deaths and medicine shortages."’
“This is not just a response to the COVID outbreak, but an unambiguous rejection of six decades of suffering under totalitarian socialism and communism,” Rubio added.
A day later, Biden voiced tepid support for the protesters, describing the protests as a “clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from decades of repression and suffering.”
He also called on “the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”
Nevertheless, much of the Biden administration’s actionable policy toward Cuba remains a mystery.
When asked in March whether President Biden intended to lift former President Trump’s designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, Psaki told reporters: “A Cuba policy shift is not currently among President Biden’s top priorities.”
She gave an almost identical response a month later when pressed for reaction to Raul Castro stepping down as head of Cuba’s Communist Party.
Meanwhile, formerly fawning Castro regime Socialist Democrats – most notably Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez – have been silent on growing pro-democracy demonstrations as Cuban citizens let it be known that they had suffered enough under the tyrannical regime; under communism.
Apparently spontaneous and unorganized, many thousands of protesters took to the streets across the island chanting “Libertad,” the cry of freedom, and singing the popular “Patria y Vida” (Homeland and Life) as a way of repudiating Che Guevara’s revolutionary slogan of the 1950s, “Homeland or Death.”
Caught off guard, Castro successor President Miguel Diaz-Canel responded quickly and forcefully, cutting off internet service and unleashing his military and Ministry of Interior loyalists in attempts to stop the protests with arrests and beatings.
Diaz-Canel called for “revolutionaries” – plain-clothes thugs – to take to the streets and warned that his opponents “will have to go over our dead body if they want to overturn the revolution.”
Yes, COVID contributed to the desperate economic plight of the island and the poverty of its people, but that doesn’t begin to explain why the people are revolting.
Cubans’ yearn for a life free of more than six decades of repression where, in true communist fashion, most people live in desperate poverty while a narrow governing elite benefit richly from a state-owned economy.
Backed by the army, the Communist Party, which maintains a nationwide network of enforcers, protects the regime. The regime, in turn, ensures that its supporters receive priority access to whatever resources are available.
Raul Castro, former head of the armed forces, ensured that loyal officers were chief beneficiaries of a burgeoning tourism industry. He also established a system whereby either the army or the state of the Communist Party was awarded a privileged partnership in joint ventures with foreign investors.
Cuban problems with the United States date back to export embargos against the Fulgencio Batista regime in 1960 after Cuba nationalized American-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation. Since 2000, however, trade of food and humanitarian supplies is no longer prohibited.
The regime suffered a major financial setback during the 1990s following the Soviet Union’s collapse which ended subsidies that had kept its isolated and struggling economy afloat with $3 billion in annual aid.
The Castros found new sources to replace the Soviet Union. Tourism brought in foreign currency from Europeans and Canadians seeking sun and sex. This more than $3 billion industry has since been decimated by COVID travel restrictions and hotel shutdowns.
In addition, Hugo Chavez’s communist-ravaged Venezuela which had provided energy in exchange for Cuban political and military assistance was no longer able to deliver, producing chronic fuel shortages and power blackouts.
Adding to the misery, sugar exports, another key earner for Cuba, were reduced by a worse than usual harvest this year due to a lack of fuel and breakdown of machinery, as well as natural factors such as excessive humidity in the fields.
As a result, with the regime’s sources of foreign currency depleted to keep its military and loyalist thugs paid, will the Biden administration rise to the opportunity to support a popular regime change?
Remember hearing only crickets back in November 2009, when thousands of freedom demonstrators in the streets of Tehran, Iran, were chanting to Joe’s previous boss: “Obama, Obama, you are either with us or you are with [the Islamic Regime]!”?
Messaging regarding Biden White House sympathies for the Cuban people is hardly encouraging.
As Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, himself a Cuban immigrant warned last Tuesday: "Allow me to be clear: if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States."
Joe Biden likely remembers the political headache that resulted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 when Castro responded to unrest by allowing some 125,000 anti-communist Cubans to flee to the U.S.
Making matters even more ominous, most of them now vote Republican.
On the other hand, his administration virtually invited about 190,000 illegal immigrants to cross the southern border in June alone, with projections that these numbers may total 2 million by year’s end.
But then again, these American asylum-seekers are escaping ravages of climate change in solidarity with rising-sea-level-threatened Arctic polar bears.
And besides, whether illegally or not, Biden’s grateful southern border crashers are far most likely to vote Democratic.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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