63 years of oppression and misrule in Cuba
Saturday marked 63 years since the Communist usurpation of Cuba — 63 years of unfettered totalitarian control by the Castro brothers, their henchmen and successors over nearly every aspect of their subjects’ lives.
The government refers to the anniversary of its 1959 victory as “Triumph of the revolution” or “Liberation Day.” But those titles are deeply misleading. The revolution has been anything but a triumph for my nation. And instead of liberating the Cuban people, the Communist regime has forced them to live as prisoners on a prison island.
This past weekend’s festivities included the usual long-winded speeches by government officials and regime-induced celebratory activities in public squares across the country. But these outward expressions of success belie the reality of a nation that’s rotting on the inside after decades of economic stagnation, political subjugation, and spiritual and intellectual despair.
It is sometimes said that the most basic measurement of a nation’s health is whether, when given the opportunity, people clamor to enter it or risk their lives to escape from it. By that standard, Cuba has been an abject failure since the communists took over.
Millions have fled Cuba since the revolution, and many thousands have died trying to make the perilous journey to Florida through treacherous, shark-infested waters, often in flimsy rustic rafts.
The decades-long exodus from Cuba shows no signs of abating. The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted 838 Cubans at sea in fiscal 2021, a large increase from 2020. Since October, another 410 Cubans have been intercepted trying to make the 90-mile journey to a better life in the United States. In addition, tens of thousands of Cubans are given sanctuary in the U.S each year as political refugees.
They are driven to flee out of desperation — desperation to leave behind a system of government that stifles opportunity and suppresses the human spirit. And they have grown impatient with the idea, perpetuated most recently by Cuban leader Miguel Diaz Canal, that if only they wait, reforms will gradually take place.
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