Following the attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953, the young Fidel Castro Ruz denounced what he saw as the evils that ravaged the republic. This included, among other things, corruption, robbery, drug addiction, prostitution, and violence. He stated that a new People’s Government was the solution to the problems he listed. Castro laid the ideological groundwork that the Cuban government would follow for more than six decades. In those six decades, the conditions experienced by the Cuban people have been very different from those claimed by its leaders. For example, they boasted that Cuba was the most equitable country in the world, when in reality it is anything but.
Amidst the global COVID 19 health crises of 2020, the revolution has forgotten the people at its core, the people who have had to put up with the countless failures of their leaders.
Celina Osorio Claro, a mother of two who lives in Guaso, is indignant of the conditions that ordinary Cubans face. “They are going to kill us through starvation and a lack of necessities,” she says. “No one in the government cares.” To her, the people work for nothing. “The salary is a mockery given the conditions in the country,” Osorio continues. “Most people don’t get anything, and those who do get something save themselves.”
“They deceived us about the Americans. American money now has great worth in this country,” she says, alluding to the dollar stores. “What a revolution this is–one that does not give food to the working class! And to top it all, shops are opened for a small group of people who receive dollars from worms. Everything is a big lie.”
Osorio’s story is just one of millions. Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of space for this article. Cuba’s current policies are beyond saving—its economic failures and its large deficits are known to everyone. Cuba has breached its payment commitment to the Paris Club, among other things.
The Cuban government, in its urge to maintain its grip on power, has forgotten its obligations to the people. This has resulted in the greatest crisis in Cuban history. And sustained crises are catalyzed into social outbreaks. The future lies in the hands of the Cuban people because Cuba still has the capacity to develop and improve, even though its government has turned its back on its citizens. Let us unite to build a country that respects human rights and human dignity, a country without the corruption of the republic, a country as José Martí conceived–where we are all free.