“Are you angry with Biden?” Fox News presenter Sean Hannity asked an angry crowd of Cuban-American protestors assembled at Miami’s iconic Café Versailles on July 21.
“Sì!” they replied with enthusiastic cheers of the same volume they employed to greet Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Marco Rubio, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar, and Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez.
Virtually ignored by the mainstream media and the Biden administration since they broke out on July 11, Cuba’s protests continue unabated.
They are not about vaccines or medical shortages or the decades-old American economic blockade, as both Cuba’s communist regime and the U.S. State Department curiously appeared to concur at the outset.
The protests, rather, are about communism and the hateful regime that still maintains it now that the Castro brothers are gone from the scene.
Cubans want that regime gone. The United States should help them get rid of it.
“Nationbuilding” is a dirty word in Washington these days, a sneering insult both hurled at and used by the political corpses of ageing and discredited neo-conservatives exiled to Swamp City’s arid pastureland of boring and useless thinktanks.
Our 20-year misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan loom large in a Vietnam Syndrome redux. An Obama-era passion to avoid conflict at any cost depleted credible threats of deterrence.
Trump’s attempts to strengthen the U.S. military, enforce alliance agreements, and forge new paths met with near-universal bureaucratic resistance and were either disparaged or ignored by complicit mainstream media types who would never in a million years send their own sons and daughters into harm’s way in the service of their country.
With that depressing legacy, it is hard to imagine virtually any circumstances in which a strategic planner in either party today would advocate a major deployment of U.S. military power anywhere.
At the national level, even the most hawkish of politicos on Cuba limit themselves to “standing with” the Cuban people as they seek to liberate themselves without arms, assistance, or internet communications in the face of Miguel Díaz-Cadel’s goon squads.
Lest any American politician entertain such a notion, hostile regional governments in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia – and our old adversaries in the Kremlin – have already issued nearly identical statements decrying prospective U.S. intervention.
The Biden White House is meekly compliant. More than ten days into the protests, it has only reluctantly acknowledged that what it calls Cuba’s “authoritarian” regime has something to do with its people’s ire and, later still, that their ire has something do with communism.
It remains silent to calls to use readily available U.S. technology to provide Cubans with internet capabilities to broadcast their message and events on the ground just 90 miles from American shores.
No other assistance appears to be forthcoming. Indeed, the Biden administration has instead announced that Cuban refugees are unwelcome even while Mexican and Central American refugees pour into Texas with high incidences of Covid and crime.
Biden’s major concerns appear to be to continue his old boss’s weak, collegiate approach to international relations and to avoid alienating progressive Democrats whose ideological sympathies are far closer to Castro than to the Constitution.
Even as Fox broadcasted a meeting of major politicians with a crowd of determined Cuban-Americans, Biden humiliated himself in a simultaneous CNN “town hall” in which he barely mustered a coherent sentence about vaccine policies that have been under discussion for months.
Meanwhile, establishment Republicans can loosen their bowties in relief at all those white papers they won’t have to write at the expense of their early bedtimes.
We have little to hope for from them, but the time to act is now. Díaz-Cardel’s regime is unpopular and illegitimate. It is already known to have killed some protesters and injured and imprisoned at least hundreds more.
The Cuban people have neither rights nor due process commensurate with international law or any credible legal tradition. Their ability to liberate themselves is heavily in doubt as long as the regime maintains a monopoly of force and its amply demonstrated ability to use it.
There is no reason to believe U.S. intervention would be a leap down another rabbit hole of Iraq or Afghanistan-size proportions. The Cuban defense and security forces are vicious but militarily insignificant.
The regime is a weak, frightened, isolated tyranny that has no popular support. Even if it did, communist control has depended on comprehensively depriving all Cuban citizens of weapons.
Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, Cuba is home to an integrated and homogenous society. Removing its government would not unleash ethnic or sectarian conflicts that could require long-term American policing or invite intervention by any close or adjacent neighbor.
Russia is far away, has no ability to project force to the Caribbean, and could not deter even half-hearted Western intervention in Syria and Libya.
Cuba’s only Western hemisphere allies are Venezuela and Nicaragua, both of which are even weaker and more isolated Marxist dictatorships that depend on Cuba far more than Cuba depends on them.
Indeed, their calls for American non-intervention, and internal crackdowns on their own dissidents, betray logical fears that a liberated Cuba would mean their own demise.
Meanwhile in Miami, a large, proud, well-organized, and highly motivated Cuban émigré community stands ready to rebuild their country.
The time has come. Let’s get to work.