The military junta that rules Cuba has just received a great shock. For the first time since Fidel Castro created a totalitarian communist dictatorship six decades ago, thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets from one end of the island to the other, chanting “liberty,” “down with the dictatorship,” and “down with communism.” They chant rhythmically and with fervor, much like participants in a religious procession. Before Cuba’s ruling dictatorship shut off the Internet, they could also be seen and heard on YouTube and social media shouting a challenge to their rulers: “We are not afraid.” That chant doesn’t sound like a prayer at all. It’s a taunt, a war cry, a rebel yell. And it is coming mostly from young Cubans, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the so-called revolution.
This sudden eruption of dissent was caused by a perfect storm of calamities, all of which have revealed the Big Lie of the revolution. Lately, life in Cuba has become more unbearable than ever for just about every Cuban. The crisis is due to a long string of blunders and catastrophes, linked like beads on a rosary from hell: The loss of revenue from Venezuela, a collapsed economy, gargantuan foreign debt, a disastrous sugar harvest, uncontrolled inflation, a plague that is intensifying in Cuba rather than abating, a crumbling health care system, medication shortages, food shortages, water shortages, electricity blackouts, and increased repression, to name but a few. Never mind the sanctions by the United States or the so-called embargo that Cuba’s military junta and many of the world’s news outlets are blaming for the current crisis. These are inconsequential factors, a decoy skillfully manipulated by the oligarchs in order to distract from their own ineptitude and the congenital defects of the communism they embraced. These protesters know the ultimate cause of their distress is their lack of freedom in all spheres of life, which is nothing new.
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