Don’t Let Cuba’s Tyranny Destroy Our Freedom

The noted author Alvaro Vargas Llosa has an excellent article at the Washington Examiner detailing how Cuba’s communist regime has used the Covid-19 crisis to expand its tyranny over the Cuban people. Much of what he details might sound familiar to Americans. He writes: “A common theme is that the people arrested for violating COVID-19 health and safety rules, such as not wearing masks correctly.”

An obvious question arises: What should be the response of the U.S. government to communist tyranny in Cuba?

Ever since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the answer has been that U.S. officials should establish its own tyrannical controls on the economic actions of the American people as a way to punish their counterparts in Cuba or as a way to induce them to submit to U.S. government control.

But does that make any sense? Why should the American people have their freedom destroyed as a way to advance freedom in Cuba? Isn’t freedom a fundamental right that cannot legitimately be destroyed by any government? Isn’t that what the Declaration of Independence says?

Consider the decades-long economic embargo. Proponents of the embargo say that it’s a way to keep the Cuban government poor by preventing both Americans and foreigners from engaging in economic commerce in Cuba.

One problem, of course, is that it also contributes to the poverty of the Cuban people, most of whom have long verged on starvation. For decades, they have been squeezed by an economic vise that consists of socialism on the one side and the U.S. embargo on the other.

Another problem is that the embargo destroys the liberty of the American people. People have the fundamental, God-given right to travel wherever they want and spend their money any way they want. No government, including the U.S. government, can legitimately destroy these aspects of freedom.

Yet, that is precisely what the Cuban embargo does: It destroys American liberty in the name of opposing communism and socialism in Cuba. Make no mistake about it: If an American citizen is caught spending money or engaging in commerce in Cuba, U.S. officials will treat him with the same judicial brutality that is meted out in Cuba to people who fail to wear their pandemic masks correctly.

For decades, opponents of Cuban tyranny have called on the U.S. government to advance liberty in Cuba by destroying freedom of travel and economic liberty here in the United States. The destruction of liberty for Americans has been of secondary importance to them. Foremost in their minds has been the ouster of the Cuban communist regime in Cuba.

But for Americans, their own freedom should be of paramount importance. Americans made a grave mistake in permitting their own government to exercise communist-like powers over them in the name of combatting communism in Cuba. It’s time for another American revolution — a peaceful revolution that restores the rights of freedom of travel and economic liberty to the American people. Let’s fight communism and socialism in Cuba and elsewhere with freedom, not with socialism and communism here at home.

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