Acton Institute Powerblog

Cuba Libre: Protestors call for an end to communism and oppression

(Image credit: Associated Press)

As Cubans take to the streets to protest the country’s government, Internet access has been cut off to “quell dissent” and President Joe Biden’s spokesperson has issued a clear message to refugees fleeing Communist Cuba: “You are not welcome.” […]

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Cubans are taking to the streets over food shortages and outrageously high prices, calling for an end to the country’s communist regime with mass protests.

“Cuban citizens have taken to the streets across the country for the first time in more than six decades to protest against deteriorating living conditions and the lack of basic goods and services, including medical attention amid increasing numbers of coronavirus infections,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

There have been other protests in Cuba, but this time the Cuban government seems worried. The Wall Street Journal further commented that the “demonstrations are more widespread and larger than ever before … Protesters this time appear willing to stand up against the government.” President Díaz-Canel has called the protests a U.S.-supported conspiracy to undermine and subvert the Communist Party through instability.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration has made it clear that the U.S. will not welcome Cuban refugees, thus continuing Trump-era policies regarding restrictions and sanctions against Cuba. Republicans, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Elliot Abrams, want the Biden Administration to support to the Cuban protestors without softening the sanctions against the Cuban government. The actual substance of this proposal is not clearly defined.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the Cuban Communist Party? If so, how can we interpret these events through a theological and moral lens?

The communist state in Cuba is known for its history of human rights violations, including, but not limited to, arbitrary detention, free-speech restrictions, persecuting Christians and other non-government-approved religions, violating labor rights, barring its citizens the freedom of mobility, and failing to provide basic goods and services. Cuba only began to recognize property rights in 2019.

The Old Testament scholar Walter Kaiser Jr. wrote in “Toward Old Testament Ethics” that: “Oppression which is directed against spiritual obligations or personal rights is condemned by God.” Cuba’s communist regime may now be experiencing a long-due reckoning.

The socialist program cannot succeed. The system is self-destructive. Ludwig von Mises once wrote:

[T]he socialist idea is nothing but a grandiose rationalization of petty resentments. Not one of its theories can withstand scientific criticism and all its deductions are ill-founded. Its conception of the capitalist economy has long been seen to be false; its plan of a future social order proves to be inwardly contradictory, and therefore impracticable.

Moreover, Communism and Socialism do not ascribe to any higher morality in their law. They simply follow expedience, the promotion of class warfare, and the suppression of enemies (including the people). This is best explained by RJ. Rushdoony in his book Law & Liberty wherein he writes:

For Marxism, law is simply the will of the state. It has no reference to any absolute right or wrong, nor is there any higher law than the state. Law is simply a system of prescriptive and binding rules which express the totalitarian and coercive will of the state…

Rushdoony goes on to say that:

[T]he state wars against its own people as an enemy. Because the Communist state always regards its subjects as an enemy either to be remade by brainwashing and brute force, or to be crushed by terror and violence, peace between the party and the people is an impossibility.

The Cuban Communist Party is guilty of this. Its idea of justice and execution thereof is a far cry from the biblical ideal of civil government being ordained by God to protect life and property and to punish criminals (Rom. 13:1-7). In Cuba, the government is the most dangerous criminal.

Historically, when governments are destructive towards the ends they are to serve, there is a precedent of God providentially bringing a transition for a new government and order. The Cuban people deserve justice and to be free, and for more than six decades the communists have viciously oppressed them. As such, the fall of the Cuban Communist Party could be a great event of liberation and justice for the Cuban people.

Ryan Ferries

Ryan Ferries is a member of the Acton Institute’s 2021 Emerging Leaders class. He is a graduate student at Corban University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and a Masters of Divinity. Ryan enjoys reading about Austrian economics, reformed & puritan theology, and ancient Semitic religion. His other interests include progressive rock music and East Asian cinema.