Photo credit: Sinn Féin via Flickr (CC BY 2.0

SF: Cuba inspires “socialist movements like our own”

At Sinn Féin’s 2021 Ard Fheis, the party praised the totalitarian Communist regime in Cuba, mere months after Cuban authorities cracked down on anti-government demonstrations, arresting protesters and journalists.

The mass demonstrations – the largest the Caribbean island had seen in decades – took place in July of this year. They were to protest against a severe economic downturn, with shops experiencing food and medicine shortages, electricity outages, and harsh restrictions on civil liberties by the Cuban authorities, including censorship of the web according to internet monitor NetBlocks.

“Only months ago, we saw counter-revolutionary and imperial settlements ramp up their attacks on the Cuban revolution,” said Sinn Féin member Matthew McLaughlin.

“Cuba’s achievements in healthcare, education and housing despite a 60-year-long blockade is nothing short of amazing. They are the standard-bearers for socialist national liberation movements like our own.”

His comments were met with thunderous applause from the Sinn Féiners on stage and in the audience.

Following this, the Cuban ambassador Hugo Ramos spoke and praised Sinn Féin’s political ambitions, cosigning the party on behalf of the Cuban regime.

This is not really a good look, considering the fact that, in Havana, a CNN team witnessed demonstrators being “forcibly arrested and thrown into the back of vans by police officers.”

28-year-old journalist Camila Acosta, who was writing for the Spanish Daily ABC, was arrested while reporting on the protests. The authorities wanted to force her to sign a paper admitting to public disorder, but she refused, insisting she had done nothing wrong. She was placed under house arrest as a result.

The foreign ministers of scores of countries condemned the mass arrests seen in the country, including South American nations like Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador.

The EU also said it was “very concerned about the repression” of protests in Cuba and urged the government to release all arbitrarily detained protesters. According to local human rights groups, around 700 people were detained, including several minors.

“We call on the Cuban government to respect the human rights and freedoms enshrined in universal Human Rights Conventions,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in the statement.

“We urge (the government) to release all arbitrarily detained protesters, to listen to the voices of its citizens, and to engage in an inclusive dialogue on their grievances.”

From jailing political dissidents, to tear gassing journalists, the Cuban government has received more condemnation from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch than you could shake a stick at, all because its people are dissatisfied with crippling shortages.

And these are the bedfellows that Sinn Féin has chosen – these are the “standard-bearers” for the socialist revolution Sinn Féin envisions.

The Cuban regime, of course, blamed the shortages on US sanctions against them, which  no doubt played a part. But while this crippling economic downturn was going on, the Cuban government was putting its own import taxes on essential goods like food and medicine, which was one of the key points of contention for the protesters.

Moreover, as much as Marxists like to blame the hated “Western imperialists” for the failures of their own states, it’s hardly a coincidence that every single one of these countries, big and small, experiences genocide, shortages and famine shortly after adopting Communist ideology.

Ukraine, for example, was choc-a-bloc with food until the Soviets got their hands on it and killed four to five million Ukrainians in the man-made “Terror-Famine” of the Holodomor. China’s Great Leap Forward resulted in a crippling famine, which was exacerbated by Mao’s Four Pests Campaign. That hunger killed up to 55 million people. The Russian Soviets’ slaughter of the Kulaks resulted in mass starvation, which, again, killed millions.

That’s the same Stalinist Soviet Union which Sinn Féin’s youth wing commemorated on the Marxist celebration of May Day this year, as it happens.

In 2001, oil-rich Venezuela was the wealthiest country in South America, and was once the fourth richest in the world. Today, the shelves are empty and people are eating out of bins to survive.

People are so hungry they broke into the national zoo in the capital of Caracas to eat the animals, which are also starving.

This happened in North Korea, Cambodia, Ethiopia – etcetera, etcetera, you get the idea. The point being, while US sanctions probably play a part in Cuba’s issues, Marxist economies don’t need any help to fail catastrophically. They’re able to collapse their own food supply and infrastructure perfectly well on their own.

I’m looking forward to next years’ Ard Fheis, when the Shinners have Kim Jong Un or Xi Jingping on stage to deliver a ringing endorsement of the party’s direction.

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