A “failed state” is the phrase used by the United States of America president Joe Biden concerning the ongoing demonstration in Cuba. Seeing citizens battling with their government is a sad sight to observe in the world. It points to an intense situation in a country that needs immediate attention. Current events of nationwide demonstrations against the Cuban government have occurred while the nation is suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. This has made life more horrific for the people. Such a world crisis needs unity between governments and their people to fight the virus effectively, but it seems like ”disunity” has become the order of the day in Cuba.
During a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Biden referred to Cuba as a “failed state” amid Cubans rebellion against their government, which is being blamed for oppressing the people and ignoring their vital needs. After succeeding former president Raul Castro on 10 October 2019, Miguel Diaz -Canel’s presidential reign has been marred by various obstacles, and it looks a ”bad cloud” is hovering over him.
In 2019, the US government, under former president Donal Trump sanctioned maritime firms for providing Venezuelan oil to Cuba, then in March 2020, covid-19 forced the Cuban government to freeze international flight coming into the country, and September 2020 saw the banning of US citizens to stay in hotels owned by the Cuban government. By December 2020, Cuba recorded an 11% economic decline. The country started the year 2021 with an end to the dual currency system, with Donald Trump posing more problems to the nation after designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. In February, 30 000+ cases were recorded, and the number increased to 100 000 in April. By June this year, the country had surpassed 200 000+ covid-19 cases, and July has sparked intense anti-government protests [Source]. Hence for the past 2 years, the country has been going through significant challenges.
But the July anti-government protests are a ”wildfire running rampant in dry grass,” and the nation is in chaos. Biden revealed that his country is trying to reinstate internet access in Cuba. Still, he has desisted from offering any financial help as it might be confiscated by the Cuban government.
Cubans are protesting against the government’s failure to provide them with basic human needs such as adequate food, reliable electricity and good medical services, which are deeply needed in the coronavirus crisis. An outcry lamenting that “there is no food, money or work” form the basis of protesting. The communist government cannot offer any more assistance, especially after the tourism industry collapsed due to covid-19. It even failed to import food leading to price hikes of essential commodities in the few markets with full shelves. Videos circulating on the internet show protestors overturning police cars, breaking windows and entering shops to loot food hampers. Huge crowds were seen outside the National Capitol building in Havana shouting anti-government chants and slogans [Source].
In response to the violent protests in his country, president Diaz -Canel uttered how the US’s protesters were mercenaries to cause chaos. He blamed the US’s sanctions for the economic hardships he is facing and restricted the internet to his people because it was being used to propagate more protests and mobilise violent rioters. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram were not functioning properly as reported by service providers. The Cuban president showed that he was willing to tackle the protestors head-on as he summoned all his supporters and loyalists to fight the hired ”rebels” roaming the streets. [Source]. He later challenged Biden to remove oppressive measures put in place by Trump if he has any humanitarian concerns for the Cubans.
But president Biden defended his country by highlighting that Diaz -Canel must acknowledge the government’s failure to cater to its people and maybe change its ruling ideologies. Biden did not have any kind words for the ”communism” ruled country and said, “communism is a failed system, a universally failed system. And I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute. But that’s another story”. Biden blames Diaz -Canel for ignoring his people’s genuine lamentations because he is too focused on blaming the US, but he is the actual abuser of Cubans [Source].
A statement by Biden noted that Americans are in full support of the Cubans who are calling for their freedom and fighting for their rights. It further states that “The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those ts, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves” [Source].
Biden sees a failed government that has been using an ineffective ideology of communism to oppress the people, and now it’s high time for Cubans to free themselves from these perennial problematic political leaders who do not know how to rule a country in the contemporary world. One can only sympathise with ordinary citizens who are stuck between an oppressive, ignorant government and a mass killing machine virus that has swallowed many people across the globe. Reports coming from Cuba contended that police and security forces have managed to control the situation while making numerous arrests and dispersing the marauding crowds in the streets. But the situation is still far from being over because the people are still starved and cannot get medical attention. Cuba has also been lagging in the covid-19 vaccination programs, and with the emerging of different variants, the Cubans face more devastating occurrences.
From his statements, it is crystal clear that Biden fully blames Diaz -Canel’s administration for steering up Cubans’Cubans’ anger, and it was inevitable since his policies do not consider the well-being of others and Diaz -Canel has proved so after failing to shield his people from the deadly effects of coronavirus pandemic outbreak; hence that is why he called Cuba a “failed state” which might need a change in governance in-order to prosper again.