by Peter Franklin
Tuesday, 13
July 2021
Spotted
11:00

The Left is curiously silent on Cuba

Corbynites have avoided weighing in on the protests
by Peter Franklin
Cubans demonstrate in Havana. Credit: Getty

Extraordinary images from Cuba, as thousands of protesters take to the streets. One can only wish them the best, but — given the precedents of Iran, Hong Kong, Venezuela and Belarus — one fears the worst.  

Of infinitely less importance is the tricky position in which the British Left finds itself. Cuba has long been the acceptable face of communism. Point the camera away from the obvious signs of decay, and the scenes of sun, sea and socialism can be sold to a gullible western audience. 

However, it’s much harder to sell the dream of a workers’ paradise if the workers are out on the streets calling for the delivery of basic services — plus bourgeois fripperies like freedom and democracy. It’s especially awkward when some protestors are waving American flags.

So what does the Corbynite Left make of it all? I wish I could tell you, but they’ve been rather quiet on the matter. Let’s start with Jezza himself. As of 11am this morning, there was nothing about it on his Twitter feed. This is odd because he’s been more that happy to weigh in on Cuban matters in the past — for instance here and here.  I checked the accounts of a number of other prominent UK Lefties. Crickets.

In desperation, I turned to the website of the Cuban Solidarity Campaign, where I found this statement. It acknowledges there have been “some street protests” that “took place against the scarcity of food, medicines and power supplies.” However, the statement mostly consists of a diatribe against the US and its decades-long trade embargo.

If the protests continue, expect this to become the standard line for regime sympathisers in the UK. It’s all the fault of those damned Yankees, you see. Definitely nothing to do with a visibly failing communist regime, whose autocratic, incompetent rule Cubans are so desperate to be free of.  

To be clear, I think the US embargo is ridiculous and should go — but it can’t be blamed for the current crisis. Most obviously, Cuba can and does trade with the rest of the world. Also, isn’t America supposed to be an evil capitalist vampire whose corporations grow fat by sucking dry the developing world? If that’s true, then surely not trading with America makes Cuba richer.

In any case, it’s not the Americans who centrally-manage the Cuban economy, but the country’s undemocratic government. 

Time, then, for the Left to do decide who they want to express ‘solidarity with’ — the Cuban people or their dictators. 

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
13 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
10 months ago

The tragedy for the people of Cuba is that they might be thirty years too late. Had they managed to shake the Castro compound in 1990, the whole western world would have sympathised; but with squeaky, non-binary, bald headed, vegan nutcutlets running the western show, they’ll get more support from a rice pudding.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago

Calling out the left for lies and hypocrisy is like calling out a leopard for having spots. It is not just pointless it is counter-productive. They know they are liars and hypocrites. It is their stock in trade. All you do by calling them out is to waste time and effort which should be spent hounding them night and day. You may congratulate yourself that you are winning the argument, but they do not give a toss. They do not care what you say or what you think.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago

Well, it is always useful to broadcast this hypocrisy, with evidence, as widely as possible. Otherwise I am not exactly sure what this ‘hounding’ at least in a democratic society with rule of law might consist of. Do you have any practical suggestions – that is an open and genuine question?

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Do what they do. Compile a list and wait. When one of them puts their head above the parapet come down on them hard. Go to their employer and anyone giving them a platform. Make them the news story. Get up a mob. Why is Paul Mason employed by Channel 4 when it is in receipt of public money and how can the BBC continue to give him a platform

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

‘Hounding’?

George Glashan
George Glashan
10 months ago

i wouldn’t underestimate the lefts ability to talk out both sides of their mouth. Saint Biden’s regime is both progressive, stainless and pure and an irredeemable racist imperialist oppressor depending on what benefits Guardianland the most at the time

Last edited 10 months ago by George Glashan
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
10 months ago

I believe sleepy Jo has also been doddering around this issue. Must check to see if he has woken up. Did see that the Chinese control the internet in Cuba and the internet has been ‘switched off’.

Last edited 10 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months ago

He is scheduling Harris to make a visit as we type. No one is holding their breath.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago

Guardian today:
News: Racist football fans, Evil Tories, Covid deaths up.
Sport: More racism by racists
Foreign news: USA Climate crisis ; Evil Tories cut foreign aid, Zuma “unrest” – and a snide story about Miami’s assassination-plotting , Trump-voting, Cuban, Venezuelan and Haitian expat communities.
Buried amid the guidance memes about Bay of Pigs (No mention of JFK’s approval though), Trump (alleged Haiti assassin allegedly recruited by a mercenary group that had an office “near Trump’s golf resort”!), you might find a brief reference to the “threat” of expat Cubans helping the protestors.

Cuban exile militias trained in the Everglades ever since the 1959 revolution, coming under the control of Jorge Mas Canosa, an exile who became a major force in Florida politics and in Washington. This week, Cuban Americans are threatening to set sail in a flotilla of small boats from Miami to bring aid to protesting Cubans, despite warnings from the US Coast Guard.

“If one of those Florida Cuban American vessels goes into Cuban waters, the Cuban border guard could overreact, and then that puts the United States in a very, very difficult position,” said Vicki Huddleston, former US ambassador in Havana.

The Cuban and Venezuelan diaspora vote played a significant part in swinging Florida to Trump in 2016 and 2020.

There is no link to their couple of stories about the protests deeper inside, which are mostly well-written until the one about shortages descends into blaming (former US President) Trump. Apparently Biden can’t do anything about it because … Trump.

because more than 60% of Cuban Americans in south Florida voted Trump – the Biden administration is cautious about doing anything that will alienate this voting bloc

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
10 months ago

So far, so predictable.
What about the non-Corbynite left?
Are they saying anything about it?

George Glashan
George Glashan
10 months ago

the lefts completely predictable silence on Cuba

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
10 months ago

There is nothing remotely curious about ‘the left’s’ silence on this issue. Anyway, aren’t all Cuba’s problems caused by US sanctions tightened recently by Trump? And aren’t the recent protests got up by groups encouraged by US interference? It’s all as usual.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
10 months ago

I don’t recall ‘the Left’ being too enthusiastic about the Arab Spring. After all, the post-war settlement in North Africa and the Middle East left a bunch of dictators more anti-Western than anti-Communist, so willing to get involved with the radical left in Europe. So the usual doctrine – your enemy’s enemy is your friend – applied.