As mentioned previously on this blog and here, the fancy new anti-riot gear displayed by the repressive forces of Castro, Inc. during and after the 11J protests, especially in the Havana area, came from Spain, which sold it to the regime (whether or not it actually got or gets paid for it is another issue). In 2020 and the first half of 2021, about $1,750,000 worth of arms and anti-riot equipment was put in the hands of the Cuban dictatorship by its third largest trading partner (after China and Venezuela), our so-called “mother country.” During the same period, however, Spain vetoed such sales to Pakistan, Russia and China, including Hong Kong (in Hong Kong’s case, the sale was blocked due to “risk of use for internal repression” of the democracy movement by police). Go figure–and the math is not hard.
Cuba is Spain’s sixth largest market in Latin America, and some 275 Spanish firms operate on the island, many in the tourist sector. Spain knows perfectly well to what use arms and anti-riot gear would be put by Cuba’s totalitarian regime, which Spain’s socialist government publicly abstains from calling a dictatorship, even in the wake of 11J and its aftermath . It is not just a matter of an amoral business transaction for profit without regard for consequences. It is much worse, as it clearly implies that Spain wants Castro, Inc. to stay in power to protect its investments on the island, which could be seriously jeopardized if Cubans became free to pursue their grievances against chronic Spanish exploitation and collusion with their oppressors. This is a very serious offense, as in crime, since providing the regime with means to keep Cuba in the grip of its evil is unquestionably complicity with that evil.
It is worth remembering that a critical event in the struggle to topple Batista was the refusal by the US government to sell him arms, which demoralized his armed forces and gave notice that the US did not support his continued rule. Spain is not the US, but it could clearly have made some difference for the good and did the opposite. Again, it is not just about the sale per se, but about what’s behind it, which definitely involves more than the merchandise in question. The implications are egregiously damning, and there’s no way to make this business wash.
I keep surprising myself with still being able to get upset over Spanish perversity involving Cuba, despite that being very old news and simply más de lo mismo. I suppose, on some level, I still expect Spain to be what it never was but Cubans persist in taking it for, a mother figure. That’s a sentimental, not to say juvenile, fantasy, but potent enough to have survived countless injuries and disappointments, not to say betrayals. It really needs to be put to rest and replaced with something less appealing but more in keeping with reality. Truth may hurt, but there is freedom in it.