Saturday, January 1, 2022

70 Years of Dictatorship in Cuba: 63 Years of Castro and 7 Years of Batista

 From bad (authoritarian dictatorship) to worse (totalitarian dictatorship)


Cuba has suffered under seventy years of dictatorship. Cuban democracy was ended by Fulgencio Batista on March 10, 1952,  the last democratic president, Carlos Prio, and his first lady went into exile, and over the next seven years, a corrupt and authoritarian dictatorship ruled Cuba, becoming increasingly unpopular.  

The refusal of Batista to nonviolently give up power through a process of dialogue opened the path for Fidel and Raul Castro to violently seize it, and put an end to a half century of democratic governments. Cuba's official motto was changed from Homeland and Liberty (Patria y Libertad) to Homeland or Death, We Shall Triumph (¡Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!).

Presidents of Cuba from 1902 to 1952 and dictator Batista

With the help of the Communist International, The New York Times, an arms embargo placed on Batista in March 1958 by the United States, and pressure from the U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in December 1958, the authoritarian dictator fled Cuba in the early morning hours of January 1, 1959.

Firing squads in Cuba ordered by the Castro brothers

Since the beginning of their struggle in 1953, the Castro brothers pledged a democratic restoration, but all along planned a Marxist-Leninist takeover and the imposition of a totalitarian communist dictatorship, killing tens of thousands of Cubans. They systematically denied human rights to all Cubans while exporting their repressive model to Africa and Latin America, creating misery for millions.

The Communist regime rewrote Cuban history, creating myths to justify its tyrannical rule. The reality was that between 1902 and 1952, there existed a system that had overseen rising living standards for five decades and had been on the cutting edge of human rights. The Marxist-Leninist dictatorship would declare war on human rights at home and abroad. 

Generations of Cubans have resisted this communist dictatorship from 1959 to the present. 

Tens of thousands of Cubans risked everything in July 2021, , taking to the streets in peaceful protests demanding an end to the dictatorship. The Castro regime responded by firing on unarmed protesters, imprisoning hundreds, and condemning many of them to 20 and 30 year prison sentences over the Christmas holidays for exercising their right to peaceful assembly.

Today, we remember this tragic history and redouble efforts to achieve a democratic restoration in Cuba. No more Homeland or Death (¡Patria o Muerte!) but Homeland, Life and Liberty (Patria, Vida y Libertad). Please take action signing this appeal for an end to repression in Cuba and release of all Cuban political prisoners to the international community.

On the streets of Cuba on July 11, 2021


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