Who had Cuban Revolution on their COVID Cards?

Of all the news that I did not predict this year, mass protests in Cuba would definitely top the list. Ultimately I don’t find this news surprising. My wife and I went to Cuba on our honeymoon. During the stay we took a day trip into Havana to see the sights. As you walk through the city a number of things strike you. Namely the complete lack of Americanization. No McDonald’s, Coca Cola signs, or any outward signs of capitalism. Coming from a first world country strictly rooted in capitalism, I have to say it’s a jarring experience. What you get in a trade off is walking through a city that is like traveling through time. Within a few blocks we had seen a cathedral originally built by Christopher Columbus, a district of buildings built during the era of Spanish colonialism, and then the modern museum of Cuban history. A unique characteristic that helped my wife and I fall in love with the city.

However, underneath it all was the presence of communism. High unemployment, lack of opportunity for Cuban people, and propaganda wanting to hold onto a myth of the past. On that last point, at the museum of Cuban history, we saw a tank where apparently Fidel Castro himself fired the shot which repelled the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion. We didn’t have it in us to tell our guide that wasn’t how history records that moment outside of Cuba. Images of Che Guevera and Castro were everywhere. Yet talking with the people, it was clear they were well educated, and ambitious to build something for themselves. As we left the country, we remarked that the only thing really holding back Cuba was communism. Holding on to the past was limiting the future of the Cuban people.

Which brings me to the news coming out of Cuba now. The apparent failure of it’s government to help provide basic necessities is fueling a change in that country. And signals are appearing that the government’s resolve is cracking. It’s promising that President Biden is throwing his support behind the Cuban people. It’s a shame that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dragging his feet. It is clear that the government of Cuba has lost the support of it’s people. The communist regime in that country is going to be faced with only two options, a liberalization and opening of democracy and it’s economy, or regressive clampdown on protests. Of those two options its clear which one Canada should be on.

If the Cuban people succeed in instituting the changes they wish, then Cuba’s relationship with the world will drastically change. Growing towards a more open and democratic country will force America to revisit it’s embargo on the island. Should that embargo lift and the economy of Cuba is open to the world at large, an opportunity to help rebuild that country into what it should always have been. A strong independent nation in the carribean. Canada shouldn’t stand in the way of that happening.

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