Tuesday, July 13, 2021


 Libertad! Freedom!

Word came out over the weekend that crowds of Cubans had taken to the streets in a number of cities across the country protesting against the government.

Why are protests rare in Cuba?

It is fairly simple. In a totalitarian state you literally risk your life when you express your dissatisfaction with the government. There is a reason protests are RARE.

Many thought that the freedom movement that swept through Poland, Germany, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the late 1980's and early 1990's would end up extending to Cuba.

It never happened.

Will there be enough momentum now for the people of Cuba to get the freedom they deserve?

I know of no country in the world that has more potential to flourish and prosper if they can escape the chains of communism.

Cuba is blessed with beautiful weather. It is close to the United States and there are scores of prosperous Cuban Americans who are eager to see freedom restored to Cuba and to revive the economy that has been devastated by over 60 years of Communist rule.

A few people over the weekend pointed out to me that most of the major media outlets were not giving much attention to the Cuba story.

Why was that?

My sense is that many in mainstream media are reluctant to give air time to stories that show that people in socialist and communist regimes are unhappy.

They must believe that it hurts the narrative that socialism is superior to freedom and capitalism.

Bernie Sanders has praised Cuba's healthcare and education system over the years arguing that Fidel Castro transformed Cuba the society in the process.

Sanders was right about one thing. Communism did transform Cuban society.

It transformed it such that a large percentage of Cubans did not want to stay in their homeland.

A large number have ended up in the United States. Others fled to Spain and other countries.

This shows the trends in Cuban admissions to the United States from 1870-2015.

Is it merely a coincidence that Cubans decided they wanted to leave their homeland in 1959, the year that Fidel Castro and the Communists took over?

The Census Bureau official number is that over 1.3 million people born in Cuba now reside in the United States. There are over 1 million additional children in these households that were born in the United States. That is over 2.3 million with recent direct ties to Cuba.

For context, Cuba only has a population of around 11 million. 

There are actually more Cuban Americans (2.3 million) in the United States than the population of Havana.

Most of those Cubans live in South Florida.

Source: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/cuban-immigrants-united-states-2018

As this article from last year in The Miami Herald points out, there are many Cubans who still risk the perilous journey to escape Cuba for the United States.

Paco sold everything he owned at home in the coastal town of Bahia Honda, west of Havana, to get out of Cuba. He also asked for help from relatives in South Florida. In an island where the minimum salary is $10 per month, it’s tough to pull together the $12,000 that people smugglers in Miami charge for the clandestine trip.

“In this town, everyone wants to leave” for the United States, he said. “Everyone wants to go.”

An interesting fact about Cuba is that over half of the population are direct descendant of slaves by some estimates.

Cuba had at least 800,000 slaves brought in during the slave trade.

The comparable number for the United States---400,000

Most people hear so much about the slave trade history in the United States that they know nothing of the horrors of the numbers of slaves that were shipped to other countries.

About 400,000 slaves were originally brought to the United States out of a total of 12.5 million who were caught up in the Atlantic slave trade from Africa. 10.7 million arrived in the Western Hemisphere. That means that less than 4% of all slaves came to the United States.

This is the picture of an exhibit I took at the Natchez, MS visitor's center a few years ago that shows the workings of the slave trade. I have referenced these numbers previously in these pages.

Less than 4% of the Atlantic Slave Trade went to North America.

Over 10 times (42%) that number went to the West Indies (Cuba included in that number).

38% went to Brazil. 6% to Guyana and 8% to the rest of Central and South America.

2% ended up in Europe which you almost never hear anything about.

We hear continually these days that the United States is a racist country and there is no way for minorities to overcome the white supremacy and systemic racism that permeates the country.

Someone forgot to mention this to the Cubans who came to America and have succeeded nor to the remaining Cubans who desperately want to leave the land of their birth.

There are calls for reparations for the descendants of slaves in the United States. 

Are there any calls for reparations in Cuba, Brazil or any other countries? It would seem the amount of reparations should be much larger in those countries since the number of slaves imported were so much higher and there are many more descendants.

Cubans are interested in something more basic---Libertad!

It is something they don't have right now.

It is something they should have.

Let's hope that the match has been lit so that the bright light of freedom will burn bright for the Cuban people very soon.

Credit: https://torange.biz/table-flag-american-candle-52532

Godspeed to the Cuban people.

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