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"Homeland & Life"

Cubans take to the streets against their government, risking their lives in mass protests for freedom for the first time in decades.
Why the fight now & why it matters:

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Cuba: Quick Facts

  • Population: Approx. 11 million - roughly the size of New York City and Chicago together.
  • Recent History: U.S. & Cuba defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War in 1898 - an independent Cuban government established in 1902.
  • 1959: The Cuban Revolution. After a series of different governments (some elected and some not), communist leader Fidel Castro came to power and ruled until 2008 - then named his younger brother president. Raul Castro later chose current Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel as his successor.

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A Refresher:

Cuba is one of 5 communist nations (incl. China, North Korea, Vietnam & Laos):

"...a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people (i.e., a classless society)."

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Life in Cuba

  • Lack of access to basic needs: food, electricity, transportation etc.
  • "Government owns and controls all broadcast media" (CIA, The World Fact Book).
  • "... private citizens are prohibited from buying computers or accessing the Internet without special authorization" (The World Fact Book).
  • Majority of the population b/t 15-54 years old; while the nation has near full literacy, citizens can't speak freely or chart their own destinies, due to communist control & limited options.

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"... our country has no need to be suffering as it has for generations ... We've also been victims for the simple fact of thinking different, of not being Communist ..."

Cuban artist Alexander Delgado. His band's song "Patria y Vida" (Homeland [or Fatherland] and Life) debuted in Feb. - a play on Cuba's old revolutionary slogan, "patria o muerte" (homeland or death). The lyrics became a foreshadowing rallying cry. Economic hardship & shortages of necessities with the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic created conditions for a collision course w/ those in power.

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The U.S. reinstated diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, opening an embassy for the first time since the early 1960s while also maintaining a trade embargo. Some blame the U.S. for these economic sanctions that further strangle the island's economy in an attempt to punish & hopefully incentivize a change in the communist regime; others say these sanctions need to continue to pressure a murderous regime that has been starving & imprisoning its own people while empowering the elite.

Jul 14, 2021

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