Cuba Reminds Us There Is No Political Freedom without Economic Freedom

A Cuban flag and an image of Cuba’s late President Fidel Castro hang on a wall in Havana as people head to Revolution Square for a massive tribute to Castro in 2016. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters) Like all forms of oppression, communism and democratic socialism belong in the dustbin of history.

We may be witnessing the end of Communism in Cuba. On July 11, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest the island’s appalling political and economic conditions. Some media outlets are trying to spin these as “COVID protests” rather than a general rejection of government domination. The cries of “Freedom!” and “Enough!” and the prevalence of American flags put that narrative to rest. Cubans long to be free, and now they may get the chance.

The island nation of 11 million is a political and economic basket case. Its government is a brutal dictatorship with an appalling record of human-rights abuses. Freedom of speech and assembly are heavily curtailed, and in response to the protests, the regime has restricted Internet access. Cuba’s economy is largely bereft of private ownership. Government-run enterprises are the rule, not the exception. Most workers are employed by the state.

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