Contrary to what President Obama has asserted, U.S. sanctions have worked. Communist Cuba is so economically weak it cannot export Marxism-Leninism as in the past, and pro-democracy advocates have become emboldened.
For more than five decades, presidents, Democratic and Republican, politically isolated and economically sanctioned Communist Cuba for the best of reasons. Here are four of them:
- Cuba has been a communist prison since Fidel Castro came to power. From 1959 through the late 1990s, more than 100,000 Cubans were placed in forced labor camps, prisons and other places of incarceration. Between 15,000 and 17,000 people were shot. Castro justified his reign of terror with these words: “The revolution is all; everything else is nothing.”
- Communist Cuba exported Marxism-Leninism throughout Latin America, in Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela and especially Nicaragua, which was taken over by the Marxist Sandinistas in the late 1970s. Another target was the small island nation of Grenada, which was to function as the third leg of a communist triangle of Cuba, Grenada and Nicaragua. President Reagan foiled the communists’ plans by freeing Grenada from a pro-Moscow radical regime. As a Venezuelan communist leader explained, the Cuban revolution was like a “detonator.”
- Communist Cuba often provided the ground troops for the Soviet Union’s strategy of inciting Third World revolution, especially in Africa. From 1975 to 1989, according to “The Black Book of Communism,” Cuba was the major supporter of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola. Castro sent an expeditionary force of 50,000 men to Angola, explaining in part why for decades Moscow propped up the Castro regime in the amount of $5 billion a year.
- Communist Cuba brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 when it allowed the Soviet Union to build sites for offensive nuclear missiles aimed at major cities in the United States. Castro knew what he was doing: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has said that Castro requested a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States.
As The Washington Post editorialized, President Obama pledged to lift economic sanctions and establish diplomatic relations at the precise moment when Venezuela’s economic miseries seriously threatened its huge billion-dollar subsidies of Cuba and when more and more Cubans were pressuring the Castro regime to allow fundamental human freedoms.
The Castro regime was on the ropes, but in the words of Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez, “Castroism has won.” Today, Fidel must be smiling and lighting up a large El Rey del Mondo cigar in his Havana palace.