Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most leftist representatives in Congress, finally spoke out on the protests in Cuba. And predictably, like all leftists, she did not hesitate to criticize the US embargo as a main contributing factor to the suffering of the Cuban people, rather than seeing it as the way to put pressure on the regime.
The congresswoman sided with the Marxist Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which has resorted to defending the communist “revolution,” and has even praised Fidel Castro in the past. For her, the US position is “absurdly cruel”, which becomes a new claim to Joe Biden, who recently refused to grant any kind of concession to the dictatorship of Miguel Díaz-Canel.
However, and in view of the fact that her opinions were so anticipated due to her socialist inclinations, Ocasio-Cortez did not miss the opportunity to express her “solidarity” with the citizens of Cuba and condemned the “anti-democratic actions” of the regime.
We stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and condemn the suppression of the media, speech and protest.
We also call for an end to the U.S. embargo and additional Trump-era restrictions that are profoundly contributing to the suffering of Cubans. pic.twitter.com/Fw6Quv5TAN
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 16, 2021
The protests, which so far register more than 400 detained and disappeared Cubans, became a turning point at the international level. Those who defend leftist policies have had to define positions in view of the brutal oppression applied by Cuban security forces. It has become clear that the ideology they defend so much only represents poverty and no sovereignty.
“I outright reject the Biden administration’s defense of the embargo. It is never acceptable for us to use cruelty as a point of leverage against every day people,” stated the Congresswoman, and the leader of the “Squad.”
But AOC forgets the cruelty in Cuba that began with Fidel Castro’s socialist “revolution.” Human Rights Watch (HRW) is just one of many organizations that has recorded the systematic violation of human rights in the island. Arbitrary detentions, restrictions on movement and communications are just some of the impositions applied for years, which have increased during the protests.
Between February and June of this year, HRW interviewed 29 journalists and artists by telephone who have suffered harassment and human rights violations. Among the victims there are also people who have performed or promoted “Patria y Vida”, a song supporting freedom, and life, which reverberated through Cuba a few months ago. The organization’s report details that among the officials implicated in the abuses are members of the intelligence services, known as “state security.” The fact that Cuba sits on the UN Human Rights Council does not mean that the Cuban regime respects human rights, it just means the UN is compromised.
It is not just about authoritarianism. But the control applied to the population, beginning with economic restrictions and ending with food rationing. The Cuban regime is unable to produce, which is why it imports the majority, but as of 2015 it began to delay in payments to foreign suppliers, in part, due to the economic debacle of its main ally, the Venezuelan dictatorship, which had been subsidizing Cuba. The result: people go hungry.
The prices are also quoted in dollars. Food stores and other products with a greater variety are controlled by the State, they only accept payments with accounts in FCC (Free Convertible Currency), that is, foreign currency. Added to this, Cubans are surrounded by widespread poverty with wages that are not enough to cover basic needs.
Other Democrats have echoed the Congresswoman’s sentiment. Allen Glines and Shahid Buttar are congressional candidates who also criticized the US embargo. California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna made the same demand, unsurprisingly.
Those who did slightly change their approach were those who work closer to the White House. Acting US State Department Undersecretary Julie Chung began by attributing the protests to a lack of vaccines and drugs. Later, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said that these were “spontaneous expressions” of people tired of the “economic mismanagement” and “repression” of Cuba; not mention of the dictatorship.
But the arguments changed after criticism from the Republican party. Chung later tweeted the following: “Nothing worries us more than the violent repression by governments and their henchmen against peaceful protesters exercising their rights. Díaz-Canel, Cuba signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines these fundamental principles.” Biden himself tried to distance himself from socialism when he was asked about the demonstrations in the Caribbean country.