The Castro dictatorship skillfully authorized duty-free importation for Cuban passengers returning to or traveling to the island with food, toiletries, and medicine. And at the risk of catching Covid-19, there has been a stampede of Cubans arriving in the country loaded with multiple packages.
Never in history, as far as it is known, has a military tyranny blamed a foreign government for national ills and economic and social backwardness, and even less so when it is that other country—with money and packages—which prevents this autocracy from sinking into the sea and prevents people from starving or dying of curable diseases.
That aberration has already turned 60 years old. It is a false dogma of faith, the mainstay of Castro’s propaganda, invented by Fidel Castro. In Cuba, it is mandatory for the government and partisan bureaucracy to blame everything on the United States. Period. The worst thing is that almost the entire planet bought the founding dictator his well-wrapped fabrication.
Cuba receives three times as much foreign exchange from the United States as it does from exports
According to this sham political culture imposed by the Castros, extreme poverty, hunger, rising malnutrition, the lack of medicines, fuel and resources to control the devastation of Covid-19 on the island, are not the responsibility of the Cuban government, but of a foreign one, in Washington DC.
The most scandalous element here is that without the money that annually comes to Cuba from the “Yankee empire” Castroism would have disappeared when the Soviet universal underwriter died. But, as evil as he was cunning, Fidel Castro, when Moscow’s subsidies ended, legalized the circulation of US dollars, and remittances and trips by Cubans to the island laden with greenbacks skyrocketed.
Not to go too far back, in the last decade Cuba received $57,269 billion dollars from the United States, including cash remittances by $29,948 billion dollars and $27.321 billion dollars in merchandise, according to a study conducted by The Havana Consulting Group.
Meanwhile, the net amount of Cuban exports in those 10 years did not reach $18 billion if the cost in foreign exchange to produce each Cuban export item is deducted from the gross value obtained ($25.660 billion). In other words, during that period, Cuba received from its northern neighbor three times the foreign exchange it obtained from its exports of goods.
But then dictator Raul Castro and his assistant Miguel Díaz-Canel devote their time to denouncing the “US genocidal blockade.”
While the embargo has proved to be a failed policy, we do not agree that it is the country’s only problem, or that its unconditional elimination would guarantee the changes that Cubans are demanding. Lifting the embargo will not stop the Cuban government’s repression of its people. Its violation of fundamental human rights to assembly, free expression and due process has nothing to do with the U.S. trade embargo. They are the strategies employed by the police state, and are a crucial cause of Cubans’ dissatisfaction with their government.
The Regime Blackmails Miami and Cuban Family Ties
If anything shows the falsity of Castroist political discourse, and the indignity of the dictatorial leadership, it is how they blackmail the family and emotional ties among Cubans, for their own benefit.
The official website Cubadebate reported that between July 19 and August 2, more than 4,620 pieces of luggage with “toiletries, medicines and food” were imported. “This represents a total of 112 tons,” the head of the Customs office at Havana Airport, Jorge Bubaire, said gleefully.
The official also explained that travelers who arrive with those items in separate suitcases can proceed directly “through the green channel,” without having to go through customs clearance.
“Since I read the news that medicines and food could enter Cuba duty-free, I hurried to buy a ticket,” Monica Gutierrez, a Cuban resident in Valencia, Spain, told the independent newspaper 14ymedio. “I was very lucky and found one at an acceptable price and I have been here in Matanzas with my family for a week after spending the six days in isolation in Havana.”
She said that in the city of Matanzas “everything is very sad and out of stock” but that she brought “as much as she could” in food and medicine because everyone in her home now has or has had coronavirus and “they need to recover.”
Her grandfather died of Covid-19, her mother acquired it and recovered, and now her sister and niece are sick. “I brought a lot of fever drugs and antibiotics, also vitamins, and helped some girls who are sending donations to Cuba from Spain and I brought for them a package to distribute here among the sick,” she explains.
Testimonials like Monica’s there will probably be many more. Meanwhile, the dictatorship, far from listening to the demand for “Freedom” that an entire people is shouting at it and that shook the island on July 11, is still clinging to power, mortally wounded, but more brutally repressive than ever.
It clings to power and does not give in but knows how to exploit the noblest and most altruistic feelings of Cubans as a nation. It blackmails the Cuban diaspora with a subliminal message that seems to whisper to the “Miami mafia”: either you send money, medicine and goods, or your relatives here will have a hard time and may even die.
Castro and his fellow gang members capitalize, for their own benefit, the family affection, the human sensitivity and solidarity that characterize Cubans in general. This gives rise to the unusual irony that those who had to emigrate because of the communist regime are, in fact, forced to provide Cubans on the island with what they lack because of that communist system.
By Roberto Alvarez Quiñones