- A Cuban refugee working on the Hill tells The Daily Caller, “I will do whatever I can to prevent America from becoming a socialist country.”
- The Caribbean country announced new rationing rules earlier this month, part of a long history of socialism that has led to starvation and misery.
- “Castro was a monster and his brother is a monster,” David Horowitz told The Daily Caller.
Earlier this month, the Cuban government announced new plans to ration basic food and hygiene products such as chickens, rice, eggs, beans, soap, and toothpaste. True to form, Cuba is blaming the U.S. embargo and President Donald Trump as its government-owned grocery stores go barren.
How does an ideology that has killed over 100 million people and wiped out once-prosperous economies across the globe continue to spread?
“What you’re seeing happening now in Cuba is the result of nearly 70 years of a failed socialist regime where government bureaucrats decide winners and losers,” Republican Florida Rep. Michael Waltz told The Daily Caller.
“It’s dumbfounding that people don’t understand that a communist economy causes starvation,” author and leading conservative intellectual David Horowitz told The Daily Caller.
“Communists blame everybody else for their mistakes, and they never concede that they make any of their own,” Horowitz said.
“This has been happening since Castro took power,” Enrique Padron, a Cuban refugee and staffer for Republican Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told The Daily Caller. “He destroyed the Cuban economy.”
The Cuban government blasted the trade policies of the Trump administration, blaming increased U.S. sanctions for its struggles. (RELATED: The Private Sector In Cuba Isn’t Private At All)
“We’re calling for calm,” Cuba’s Commerce Minister Betsy Díaz Velázquez told a state-run news agency, according to the AP.
That short, yet significant quote echoes throughout history. The Cuban government has been urging calm for 60 years, and blaming so-called U.S. “imperialism” when things inevitably go awry.
“This is not economic or diplomatic isolation,” Waltz said. “Cubans have essentially isolated themselves.”
“Cuba’s been using that excuse since 1959,” Horowitz said.
The notorious dictator Fidel Castro led a communist revolution to take power in Cuba in 1959, and he ruled until his death in 2016. Today, 87-year-old Raul Castro — Fidel’s younger brother — still rules the island with an iron fist. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Bernie Describes Wanting ‘To Puke’ Watching JFK Get Tough On Castro)
“Castro was a monster and his brother is a monster,” Horowitz said, while adding that the U.S. should have done more to stop Castro’s rise in the 1960’s.
“The biggest mistake we made was when [President John F. Kennedy] pulled the plug on the invasion,” Horowitz said, referring to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
At the same time the Cuban government is holding back scarce resources from its people, the government is also propping up Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, who oversees one of the last hard-left strongholds in Latin America. Trump has referred to Maduro as a “Cuban puppet.”
“If that regime is toppled, that is the last lifeline for Cuba,” Republican Florida state Sen. Manny Diaz told The Daily Caller.
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba released a report last month detailing Russian and Cuban military support for Maduro’s regime, which included weapons shipments and the deployment of military personnel from the two countries. Like Cuba, Venezuela was once a prosperous nation with the worlds largest oil supply, but now faces food shortages and abject poverty.
“The Cuban government shifted its dependency from the Soviet Union to the Venezuelan regime decades ago,” Waltz said.
Diaz believes that regime change in Venezuela could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and finally frees the Cuban people from Castro’s grip. Diaz also praised Trump’s policies in the region, particularly his decision to reverse the Obama administration’s decision to relax sanctions on Cuba.
“I completely disagreed with the Obama administration,” Diaz said. “President Trump taking a hard line on Cuba is necessary.”
President Obama became the first president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928, when he toured the island in 2016. Obama was subject to intense criticism for his actions during the visit, such as his decision to do a photo op in front of a mural dedicated to communist revolutionary Che Guevera, as well as his decision to do “the wave” with Raul Castro at a baseball game.
“The Obama policy was a mistake,” Florida Republican party chairman and state Sen. Joe Gruters told The Daily Caller. “There were no concessions, no human rights, no free elections.”
“The people of Cuba never got anything in return,” he added.
Gruters also noted that the Cuban government’s support of Maduro’s dictatorship is siphoning off resources from citizens who desperately need them.
“The regime has put all their resources into the Maduro regime in Venezuela,” he said.
In addition to its trade agreements, Cuba is not a country that lacks natural resources. The country is best known for its sugar, coffee, and cigar industries, but while Cuban cigars remain popular across the world, its coffee and sugar industries are nearly defunct, and no longer make up a significant portion of exports.
Gruters criticized the notion that the U.S. embargo is responsible for Cuba’s latest economic calamity, pointing to trade agreements that the country has with Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.
“Rationing in a communist country is equivalent to slowly starving its own country,” Gruters said. “The system itself is a rationing process.”
Despite the failures of once-prosperous nations like Cuba and Venezuela, socialism has become mainstream in America, with nearly one third of millennials now identifying as socialists, according to a Maru/Blue and BuzzFeed News study released last year. (RELATED: 70% Of Democrats Say Socialism Would Be Good For America:Survey)
Several Democratic presidential candidates have proposed government takeovers of the health care and education industries, among others. Horowitz blames the rising tide of socialism in the U.S. on public education, which he says has become a “re-education camp for communism.”
“You can’t plan an economy,” he said. “It’s just too complex.”
“I will do whatever I can to prevent America from becoming a socialist country,” Padron told The Caller.
Padron came to the U.S. in 1994, and said that he made $1.80 a month while working in Cuba.
“Socialism is a slavery system,” Padron added.
“When you are a slave you don’t want anything for free, you just want freedom.”