Since the weekend, Cuba has seen widespread, once-in-a-generation protests that may foreshadow the end of the Communist regime’s 62-year grip on the island nation.
The Biden administration came under heavy fire from the conservative press for its eerie silence on these historic events. The only official to comment on the first day was an acting Assistant Secretary of State, who myopically framed Cuba’s protests as a call for more vaccines:
Days later, President Biden eventually tweeted his support for “the Cuban people as they bravely assert their fundamental and universal rights,” and their desire for “freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering.”
Missing was any mention of the C-word describing the ideology behind said repression. Noting this, one reporter later in the week asked Biden’s Press Secretary point-blank if people were leaving Cuba “because they don’t like communism”. Fumbling around, Jen Psaki couldn’t bring herself to say the word either:
Why is it so hard to condemn an ideology that buried 150 million victims?
Many Cubans would be curious about this.
Cuba has a population of 11 million people — but consider that there are 2.4 million people from Cuba or with Cuban heritage living in the United States today. The vast majority are linked to migration patterns following the 1959 Cuban revolution. An image familiar in the American press is that of Cubans washing up on Florida’s shores after crossing 90 miles of ocean on makeshift rafts.
What they were fleeing is the same C-word that neither Biden nor his Press Secretary seemed able to utter this week. For obvious reasons, Cuban Americans remain some the most outspoken advocates of US-style democracy.
Apparently, this is also true of Cubans in Cuba. Some of the most poignant footage from the week’s protests (before the Communist regime shut off the internet and communications) showed Cubans flying the American flag as a symbol of the freedom they want for their own nation.
Cubans are not alone. The Star-Spangled Banner has also been spotted in counterrevolutionary protests everywhere from Hong Kong to Iran to Venezuela.
In fact, one savvy reporter thought to press Jen Psaki for her thoughts on this use of the American flag by foreigners. Psaki squirmed even more for this one:
The Cubans’ flying of the American flag to symbolise freedom couldn’t come at a more interesting time in American history. An aggressive campaign is underway by the woke to reframe the United States as a uniquely and persistently racist country whose very existence still depends on that racism.
A spinoff of this campaign is a growing distaste for the Stars and Stripes. In recent months, activist athletes have turned their backs on the American flag. Antifa militants have set it alight. The New York Times has variously labelled it as disturbing, divisive and alienating.
In other words, in the most implausible twist, the American flag has become an icon of oppression for Americans, even as it remains a symbol of freedom for foreigners.
Try telling that to a Cuban still in Cuba. They’d probably shake their head.
Until Americans begin setting sail on rickety rafts for a Cuban Utopia, the woke propaganda won’t work. And meanwhile, Cubans will remain starry-eyed about America.