The big news this week was the massive demonstration movement in Cuba, which was directed against the communist regime in Cuba. In addition to the capital Havana, there were large demonstrations in several provinces of Cuba, even storming local communist party headquarters and in many places clashing with police, security forces and pro-communist regime crowds.
During the communist virus pandemic, Cuba’s tourism industry was hit hard, the sugar cane harvest was disappointing, and the Cuban government’s foreign exchange reserves were depleted. Sugar is Cuba’s only large-scale export, and is traded for foreign currency. When foreign exchange reserves dried up, there was no money to buy oil and gas, so many places began to lose power. The entire economy deteriorated as the plague spread and vaccines were in short supply. Starting Sunday, spontaneous peaceful street protests broke out in at least 20 cities in Cuba, targeting mainly inflation and government inefficiency. But the demonstrations soon turned into demands for an end to the 62-year-old Communist Party’s totalitarian rule.
While there were no reports that any of the protesters were armed, it was no surprise that the protesters were violently repressed. Prior to the Cuban regime’s disconnection, videos on social media showed police and security forces firing at protesters, who were beaten and many injured. At least one person was beaten to death in Santiago de Cuba. Ramón Espinosa, an Associated Press photographer, was also beaten to the point of serious injury by police.
In response to police attempts to attack protesters, protesters overturned a police car, as well as looted a government-run store. More generally, protesters chanted “freedom” and “down with communism” during many of the protests.
In a speech on state television, current Cuban Communist Party leader and Cuban President Antonis Kanell encouraged Cubans to take violent action against the protesters, and he organized a pro-Communist rally with government cronies on Sunday to shut down Havana’s Revolution Square, but the pro-Communist crowd was far smaller than the protesters.
The police manhunt appeared to continue early Monday morning. Cuban media outlet ADN reported that police special forces were hunting down suspected protesters “like dogs. In Cárdenas, Matanza province, families trying to visit relatives in the hospital after police opened fire were kept out by police because authorities did not want protesters and journalists to get an accurate list of those injured or killed Sunday.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for Cuba.
Many people, including some Latin American leaders, believe that Cuba’s economic woes have something to do with U.S. sanctions. I think that’s correct; the U.S. has essentially been imposing economic sanctions on Cuba since 1959. For the most part, the U.S. has adopted a policy of hostility toward Cuba, except for a brief period when Obama was president when the sanctions were partially lifted.
But few people mention that Cuba confiscated almost all American investments in Cuba, including electricity and communications companies and banks, after the country’s 1959 communist revolution, turning them into Cuban state-owned enterprises. Prior to the 1950s, U.S. capital in Cuba accounted for a large percentage of the Cuban economy. Cuba became independent, with the help of the U.S. military, so the U.S. and Cuba used to have good relations, the U.S. treated Cuba as its own backyard, and Americans invested in Cuba in huge amounts. After the communist revolution, Castro nationalized more than 90% of the economy, including, of course, U.S. capital, and the Americans, of course, held a grudge.
Wouldn’t the Chinese have done the same thing? I’m sure they would. Suppose now that Pakistan suddenly announced the confiscation of all Chinese investment in corporate and non-corporate projects, what would China do?
The Central Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCL, publicly recognizes only four ruling socialist parties besides the CCP itself: Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, and Laos (that’s Laos). North Korea is not mentioned, Vietnam is in the process of modernization, and Laos only listens to Vietnam, so the only communist party that is really on par with the CCP is Cuba.
The relationship between Cuba and the Chinese Communist Party is very interesting: before the 1980s, the international news published in the Chinese Communist Party’s “Reference News” quoted a lot of reports of Cuban hegemony in the Western media, including reports of Cuba sending troops and military advisers to South America and Africa.
In reality, however, Cuba’s communist movement was extremely similar to the CCP’s.
After Fidel Castro took power in 1959, he quickly adopted measures to nationalize the economy.
On March 13, 1968, Castro declared that the next goal of the revolution was to declare war on peddlers in a speech broadcast live to the nation from the University of Havana that lasted late into the night. Overnight, hawkers and private owners became street rats for everyone, and in addition to raids and confiscations of property, many stores were smashed and owners beaten. Castro was trying to set a precedent of using a mass movement to manage the social circulation, how similar to the socialist reform movement in China.
Then he announced a national plan for 10 million tons of sugar, much like the Communist Party’s “Great Leap Forward” in steel production, which of course failed miserably.
Cuba also has rural communes. In 1965, the island was handed over to the Cuban Communist Youth League, and 50,000 young people moved to the island to work there, with Castro’s goal of turning the island into a base for Cuba’s sugar and citrus exports, which would exceed the combined production of the United States and Israel, another country that exported a lot of citrus at the time. Such a bull was destined to end up being blown on day one.
Beginning in the early 1960s, Cuba spent heavily on new schools in the countryside, sending urban children and adolescents to the countryside to receive a militarized education that combined learning and productive work in isolation from their families, parents and urban environment.
The Cuban government announced a “revolutionary offensive” policy, a combination of the Cuban-style “Great Leap Forward” and the Cultural Revolution, with both political and economic objectives.
This totalitarian communist system, of course, brought with it serious problems. Starting in the 1960s, there were several massive waves of Cuban smuggling, with as many as a million Cubans smuggled into the United States. People risked their lives to run across the rough waves of the Caribbean Sea to the United States, a situation comparable to that of Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution and North Korea’s flight to South Korea, and comparable to that of Vietnam in the late 1970s.
Castro was not worried about this, he thought the bourgeoisie ran away, just in time to build a communist Cuba. But to Castro’s surprise, the Cuban refugees created a super-rich city in the United States, Miami. Miami was originally just a small town at the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida, more than a hundred miles across the ocean from Cuba. A large number of Cuban refugees gathered here and eventually turned Miami into a mega-city, home to wealthy Americans as well as wealthy people from other countries in South America.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is from a Cuban refugee family in Florida. The most anti-communist population in the world is also this group of Cuban refugees, numbering about one million in the entire United States.
Events back in Cuba. Russia, China and some countries in South America have said that foreign powers should not intervene in the situation in Cuba. This is familiar to Chinese people, right? But the Cuban communist revolution, like China’s, was caused by foreign powers.
The most famous of them is Che Guevara, now the great hero of the global left.
Guevara was an Argentinean, and the family was a very wealthy Argentinean family. After entering medical school, Guevara decided to take a year off and travel around the Americas by motorcycle (as an aside, this was the 1950s, so imagine how rich Guevara’s family was). According to his own book, he witnessed poverty and oppression in various Latin American countries, and of course read about communism, so he decided to join the violent communist revolution.
In 1952, he returned to Argentina by plane and his family drove to pick up Guevara, who wrote in his book that they didn’t even know that I was not the same person anymore. Meaning, instead of being the descendant of the rich, no longer middle class, no longer a doctor candidate, he would become a violent revolutionary. Two years later, Guevara went to Mexico to join Castro, who was in exile there, and then smuggled himself back to Cuba to carry out a violent revolution. Needless to say, killing officials, sabotaging roads, subverting the government, and finally by killing and setting fire to the country and arming it with violence, in 1959 Castro’s terrorist organization seized Havana and established a communist regime.
As with other communist regimes, the biggest political event that followed the so-called successful revolution must have been the power struggle within the Communist Party. on the night of January 28, 1968, Castro announced that a group of senior cadres, led by Central Committee member Anibal Escalante, had been uncovered within the party to oppose the party. This group, which included Cubans, as well as people from Europe and other South American countries, was the peak and the beginning of the great purge.
Castro was very resolute in his revolutionary attitude, which he resembled Mao Zedong. So when Khrushchev came to power in the Soviet Union to make détente, Cuba and the Soviet Union almost fell out. Of course, unlike mainland China, Cuba’s economy is highly dependent on foreign trade. If the Americans did not buy Cuban sugar and cigars, Cuba could only sell to the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern bloc, so it could not completely turn its back on them.
Guevara disagreed with Castro’s policies and believed that he should respond to the Soviet Union’s policies, thus appearing at odds with Castro, this was before Castro captured the anti-party group in 1968.
In 1965, after visiting several countries, including China, Guevara wrote a letter to Castro. He was puzzled and disappointed with the single Soviet model and worried about the future of socialism, because he found that a number of revolutionaries had lost their former sharpness in luxurious cars and in the arms of beautiful female secretaries. Therefore, in order to maintain the perfect image of a revolutionary, he could only choose to fight and choose a magnificent ending of the Phoenix Nirvana type. to prevent his personal behavior from being detrimental to Cuba, Guevara renounced his Cuban citizenship. he left Cuba by plane on April 1 and went to Congo to participate in the violent communist revolution there.
After the failure of the communist uprising in the Congo, Guevara went on to Bolivia to lead local communist guerrillas in revolutionary activities. Local Bolivian Communist Party members purchased a large area of dense forest in Niakawasu, which was handed over to Guevara for training Communist guerrillas.
Guevara found about fifty people there and created a guerrilla group called the “National Liberation Army”, which was said to be well equipped.
The Bolivian government, of course, was not pleased and wanted to round up the group, especially by issuing a kill order against Guevara. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was also sent into Bolivia to help the government eliminate the guerrillas.
In October 1967, Guevara was surrounded and captured by CIA-trained Bolivian special forces and subsequently shot outright.
Guevara is still a model for the global left and has been called the “perfect man” because he did not stay in Cuba as a high-ranking official, but went to another country to start a revolution. But there are two facts: first, he flipped with Castro, and in ’67 he didn’t die, but in ’68 he probably became an anti-party group; second, his guerrillas were violent organizations that used over-the-top warfare, killing not only government soldiers, but also class enemies, even women and children. By today’s standards, it was outright terrorism.
The Castro and Guevara group, perhaps truly “idealistic,” believed that through violence and terrorism, they could build a paradise on earth.
For me, there is nothing wrong with the leftist ideal of social equality, similar to the Buddhist concept of equality of all beings, but it is problematic to promote it through violence. Moreover, the design of the communist dictatorship system, which completely ignores human nature and thinks that social justice can be maintained by relying on the self-consciousness of those in power, is extremely absurd, and in practice, social inequality is even worse and more radicalized. This is extremism.
And the history of the global communist movement, the communist parties in the vast majority of countries, whether they succeeded in power or not, were full of bloodshed, mostly caused by outside forces, including the Soviet Union itself. In the international anthem, this is called “Intenachonel” (international).
Now the Chinese Communist Party sings the international anthem while calling for the elimination of “foreign forces”. Those who say it intend to deceive, but those who listen, especially those who believe it, are foolish.