The People's Streets: Stand with the Cuban Revolution!
|Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (left) with his predecessor, Raul Castro|
In March of 2020, a little while before we all began to appreciate the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic, I stopped by the South Cloisters at University College London (UCL) to attend a discussion about "imperialism and anti-imperialism". The talk was hosted by a group of students calling themselves Liberate the University, who had come together in order to express their support for the strike being waged at the time by the Universities and Colleges Union and have since done some admirable work promoting rent strikes and resisting the damaging intrusion of the market into higher education. It was attended by people with a range of views, among them some activists from the so-called Alliance for Workers' Liberty (AWL) who felt it an appropriate occasion to label Cuba, which has been a recipient of aggression on the part of the world's foremost imperialist power for decades, a "Stalinist dictatorship" whose trade unions were "shills of the State" and which had "oppressed the long-suffering people", in spite of a few advances in healthcare and education which the speaker barely felt worth mentioning.
In the last few days, the AWL activist's position on Cuba has been echoed by people like Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Ron DeSantis, Fox News and other stalwart hawks of the imperialist regime in the United States. The outpouring of contempt and vitriol directed at Cuba's 'communist dictatorship' has been renewed, this time, by a handful of small protests in the capital, Havana, and other cities. Initially sparked by concerns about persistent power outages as well as shortages of basic supplies such as food, fuel & medicine in the small town of San Antonio de los Banos, the protests were quickly co-opted by opponents of the revolutionary government, using the hashtag #SOSCuba. The country's President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded Raul Castro in 2019, accused press and social media platforms based in the United States of attempting to orchestrate a campaign of violent unrest, a claim which appears legitimate in light of successive US administrations' well-documented history of using popular forms of media such as radio stations and social networks to destabilise governments who oppose its geopolitical interests. However, acknowledging that the people were sincerely concerned about the growing shortages and the pressure which the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on Cuba's healthcare system, President Diaz-Canel also travelled to San Antonio de los Banos in order to speak with the protesters, and it was from there that he called the country's revolutionaries to the streets.
|Counter-protest in support of the Cuban |