The fight to bring Democracy to Cuba and to save it in the United States

Cubans+take+to+the+streets+to+protest+against+their+government+in+hopes+to+attract+international+aid+and+intervention.

Courtesy of Business Insider

Cubans take to the streets to protest against their government in hopes to attract international aid and intervention.

#SOSCuba and “Live Free or Die”. Two different phrases with one common objective: Democracy is always worth the fight.

After the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959, Communism was introduced to the island of Cuba. Following the induction of Castro in 1959, decades of economic instability and lack of respect for basic human rights have persisted. 

“For decades, Cuba’s dictatorship has used violence and repression to silence its people, rather than permit the free exercise of Democracy and their basic social rights,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said in a statement.

Cubans subjected to their Authoritarian government are now taking to the streets to protest. Signs with the messages, “No tenemos miedo” (We are not afraid) and “Queremos libertad!” (We want freedom!) were spotted at multiple protests across the country. Protests around the country aim to bring Democracy to Cuba, while the regime actively attempts to silence their grievances.

“The people [Cubans] came out to express themselves freely, and they [Communist regime] are repressing and beating them,” Rev. Jorge Luis Gil, a Roman Catholic priest, said while standing at a street corner in Centro Habana.

In order to for their anti-government movement to gain traction, Cubans have been posting images and videos showcasing the dire political, medical, and economic situation in Cuba, adding #SOSCuba to their captions. Cubans hope to attract international attention and gain support from surrounding democratic countries, such as its neighbor, the United States. In an attempt to control the situation, the Cuban government shut off the nation’s wifi, leaving Cubans without channels to communicate.

As the Cuban government censors the voices of their citizens, cases of censorship in New Hamsphire have been made evident. Just recently, 10 out of 18 members of New Hampshire’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion resigned in protest over concerns of a new bill, signed by Gov. Sununu, which places limits on certain kinds of lessons on race and sex. 

“[The state budget signed by Sununu on June 25 includes a provision that] aims to censor conversations essential to advancing equity and inclusion in our state, specifically for those within our public education systems, and all state employees.”

By signing the bill on limiting certain types of speech and education, the “Live Free or Die” governor has taken the national fight to preserve democracy, a step back, meanwhile Cubans trying to bring democracy to their country are censored for highlighting dire situations they face.

On July 12th, President Biden issued a statement regarding the protests in Cuba where he stated his support for the protestors and called for the Cuban government to hear its people.

“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s Authoritarian regime”, said Biden.

(full statement here

As protests continue in Cuba to bring Democracy to the island, not just New Hampshire, but all of the United States is left to fight a battle of its own: preserving Democracy. 

“We are in the battle for the soul of our nation”, said Biden. “We’re facing the most significant test of our Democracy since the Civil War.”

Lies spread about the 2020 Election have resulted in the United States fighting to preserve its Democracy. The January 6th Insurrection was a direct result of the “Big Lie”, as is the surge in voter suppression. In several “red states”, 28 new laws that restrict access to the vote have been passed. Sixty one additional restrictive laws are also in consideration by state legislatures in 18 states. 

“In America, if you lose, you accept the results. You follow the Constitution. You try again. You don’t call facts ‘fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy,” he added. “That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness. That’s not Democracy; it’s the denial of the right to vote.”

The restrictive voting laws that are being passed in state legislatures aim to primarily target young voters and their voices.

“A lot of my friends and peers are talking about this [Texas’s restrictive voting laws] as an important issue,” said Katya Ehresman, a 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. “Some are kind of politically active, but more so, they’re just angry and affected.” 

Here in New Hampshire, GOP members of the NH state legislature tried passing a law which implemented new requirements for same day voter registration. The New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down the bill as “unconstitutional”. 

Voter suppression and the “Big Lie” are not the only threats to our Democracy. Political demonization of opponents, inability to cross the aisle, and hyper-partisanship also threaten American Democracy.

In response to attacks on voting rights, the For The People Act was created in order to ensure protection of the fundamental right to vote. Due to hyperpartisanship, the act has been stalled by filibuster. Additionally, organizations like the Franklin Project and Mindful Politics aim to educate the public about the importance of bipartisanship and basics of American civics. 

“Individually, we can’t do much to stop this slide into Authoritarianism,” said Franklin Project Co-Executive Directors Erin Dobson and Greg Jenkins. “But together there’s nothing we cannot do. Together we cannot –we must not –fail. Together we will fight to keep the America we love and cherish by doing the work of Democracy.” 

As young Americans fight to protect their right to vote and other concerned Americans strive to educate others on the fight to save Democracy in the U.S., Cubans fight to bring Democracy first hand to their nation. 

America, the “beacon of Democracy”, now fights to save itself from Authoritarianism. In wake of this, remember to never take what you have for granted. Be mindful and most importantly, remember that Democracy is always worth the fight.

“Live Free or Die.”- General John Stark

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