Cuba Libre

Martin Gurri has a very good, deep-dive on the current situation in Cuba.

The wreckage of the Cuban economy really can’t be exaggerated. The perpetual blackouts are an apt symbol of a country that is headed for the dark ages. For the first time since the revolution, Cuba is begging the United Nations for food aid. Nearly half a million persons have fled the island in despair during the last two years—that’s 4% of the population, the equivalent of more than 12 million Americans. Yet the failure cascade is moving faster than the capacity to emigrate. People feel trapped and hopeless. The volcano is growling. Despite the words we use, national economies never actually implode—but the regimes that exploit and mismanage them often do.

At the same time, the Cuban public has found its voice. That is the second radical transformation of Cuban society. Despite the blackouts and the poor connectivity, large numbers of Cubans are venting online. I have no idea how this happens, but the web in Cuba has turned into an immense chorus of anger and disgust.

Most moving are the expressions of little-known individuals trapped in the catastrophe of a failed utopia, trying to make sense of the nightmare of everyday life. Those unable to flee Cuba today escape to the web. They post on Facebook and X, they exchange links and opinions on WhatsApp, they complain of the dark and the heat and the mosquitos at night, they mock the regime, they pray to God for consolation. “How lucky we Cubans are that we can go to the web!” reads a Facebook post. “That’s the end of the state monopoly over information!” During a blackout, one poster asks, “Where can we protest?” Another answers: “Right here.”

…Amid a volley of emojis, one wag claimed on Facebook that the words of the communist anthem, the “Internationale,” had been written about Cubans: “Arise, wretched of the earth, stand up you slaves without bread …”

Once the jokes and the defiance stop, we are confronted with the awful spectacle of human existence in a state of pure desperation. “Of course I’m unwell with blackouts of 15 hours one day and eight hours the next. I feel dissociated, I’m not well. I think I’m entering into insanity,” a woman wrote. A poster warned: “This can’t continue indefinitely.”

I’ve always said that a simple theory of when communist regimes collapse is when the true believers die and the people at the top are no longer willing or able to kill for ideals. Raul Castro is now 92. It won’t be long.

Gurri has much more on corruption within the regime and how the regime mafiosos are moving foreign currency, which could be used to buy necessary food and supplies, out of the country as quickly as possible.

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