Thousands of Cubans in at least 16 cities took the streets peacefully on Sunday to demand an end to the 62-year-old communist regime, chanting “freedom,” wearing American flags, and in many cases facing extreme police repression.
Videos from throughout the island show both plain-clothed and uniformed state security officers attacking peaceful protesters. In Havana, bystanders recorded the sound of heavy gunfire and public beatings of dissidents. Miguel Díaz-Canel, the “president” appointed by Raúl Castro to be the face of the still-ruling Castro Communist Party, called for street “combat” against anyone demanding an end to the regime in a speech on Sunday.
The protests appeared to begin in the town of San Antonio de los Baños, western Cuba, on Sunday morning. Local independent outlets documented chants of “down with communism!”, “they [the regime] must leave,” and “f*** Díaz-Canel!”, among other anti-government statements. Locals livestreamed the protest on Facebook, triggering an outpouring into the streets of at least 16 major cities including both Havana and Santiago de Cuba, on opposite ends of the island.
The geographically widespread nature of the protests and the secrecy of the Communist Party on the island has made it virtually impossible to estimate exactly how many Cubans took the streets on Sunday. Police have not released any arrest totals or injury statistics, but some local outlets estimate that hundreds were arrested, taken into police stations but not formally charged or appearing in any law enforcement documentation. Among the arrested were several Cuban journalists not participating but reporting on the protests, according to the dissident news service Cubanet. Also arrested on Sunday, though rapidly released, was Yomil Hidalgo, one of Cuba’s most popular dance music artists.
The American flag, popularized as a protest symbol in Cuba by dissident Daniel Llorente, made multiple appearances among Cubans on Sunday. Video authenticated by the Miami broadcaster AméricaTeve showed a group of Cubans carrying an American flag through the streets of Havana on Sunday while chanting “freedom!” Videos taken by Cubans on social media and distributed through other Latin American news organizations also show the presence of the U.S. flag.
Under communism, the regime has outlawed most religious practices it cannot control and regularly persecutes Christians who defy its authority. Fidel Castro sent non-Catholic Christians to labor camps alongside suspected LGBT people, writers and critics, and other “undesirables” in the 1960s.
Reports of the beating and arrest of at least one Catholic priest, Father Castor José Álvarez Devesa, surfaced on Sunday. Álvarez reportedly disappeared in Camagüey, one of the most active protest centers, and resurfaced under the custody of the Communist Party’s secret police.
Camagüey, in the central rural heartland of the island, experienced some of the most violent communist repression on Sunday. Local journalists and citizens recorded police publicly beating protesters. Citizens fought back with rocks – legal weapon ownership in communist Cuba does not exist – in at least one occasion successfully pushing back a police car to protect dissidents in one neighborhood. Citizens appear to begin throwing rocks after police open fire on unarmed, peaceful civilians, hitting at least one man.
An extremely dramatic video of Cuban citizens overturning a police car and standing on it in triumph also surfaced on Sunday. Sources differ on where it was taken, but it appears to be in either Havana or Cárdenas, a city about 100 miles east of the capital.
Other reports indicated heavy gunfire from police at peaceful protesters in Havana. As Havana is one of Cuba’s most densely populated urban centers, opening fire on a tightly packed crowd would likely result in significant injuries, but Cuban authorities have not issued any reports on the damage police caused at press time.
The gunfire was an apparent attempt to keep protesters out of the Plaza of the Revolution, the Spain-based Diario de Cuba reported. The Plaza is the crown jewel of communist architecture in Havana, featuring Soviet-style metal portraits of Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and other mass murderers. Diario de Cuba, citing a reporter on the ground, stated that police surrounded the Plaza and deployed a communist mob to wave photos of Fidel Castro. Police carrying baseball bats offered protection to the state-sponsored mob. Photos of the pro-Castro mob in Havana appeared in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, late Sunday appear to confirm those reports.
Díaz-Canel appeared on television Sunday to call all communists to violently attack any protesters, effectively urging civil war.
“We are willing to give our lives. They will have to pass over our corpses if they want to confront the Revolution,” Díaz-Canel warned. “We are willing to do anything.”
“We are convening all revolutionary communists to go out to the streets where these provocations are happening and confront them with firmness,” he commanded. “The order of combat is issued, revolutionaries to the streets.”
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
Warning: What Socialism Breeds
Ironically, as Cubans protest and hold up American flags, which represent freedom worldwide, many in the United States are advocating a move toward Communism. These Socialist ideas seem to gain popularity in America thanks to Universities and politicians such as Bernie Sanders. The supporters of this are largely younger generations who have not been taught what this dangerous system consistently brings.
Many Republicans have pointed to the crisis in Cuba, using it as a prime example of what socialism/communism truly breads.
Republican Marco Rubio, tweeted: “Protests in #Cuba aren’t simply about ‘shortages.’ Socialism promises guaranteed food, medicine & income if you give up your freedom. When, as always, it fails to deliver you don’t get your freedom back.”
Sen. Tex Cruz, whose family fled from Cuba, released a statement, which read: “The Cuban people have fought against the tyranny of the Communist regime for decades, and have taken to the streets demanding liberty. This regime has brutalized and denied freedom to generations of Cubans, forcing many including my family to flee or be murdered, and over the coming days will widen its violence to try to suppress the brave protesters in the streets.”
“Socialism leads to pain and suffering and Cuba is the perfect example,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, said in her statement.
Franklin Graham recently wrote about the growing support of Socialism in the United States, warning, “Godless socialism and communism are threatening our very way of life.”
“America is under attack from within,” Graham stated. “Godless socialism and communism are threatening our very way of life in this country and the inroads already made are shocking. Even though no one has fired a shot, the battle is raging and we’d better wake up before it’s too late. It’s like some people have blinders on and don’t see the dangers of what is coming down the road.”
Answers In Genesis, in their article, “Marxism: Darwinism Lived Out,” urged Christians to educate themselves and their children on the anti-Christian nature of Marxism:
In the United States, well-known political figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders (who call themselves democratic socialists), are both raising eyebrows among some conservative types, and yet gaining massive support from the public, particularly among the younger demographics who have been steeped in secular teaching since their arrival in state-run schools at a very young age.
Christians need to educate themselves and their children of the truth that Marxist ideas, combined with Darwin’s, have been detrimental to the world ever since their inception. Marxism advocates attacks on history, absolute truth, individuality, and the family unit as created by God for his glory.
Understand that Marx was brought up in a Christian family; his parents were Jewish and new believers. However, on his way to becoming a lawyer, like his father, Marx was influenced by the writings of Hegel, a political philosopher from Germany, and then by the writings and ideas of Charles Darwin, which he fully embraced and used to justify his radical beliefs.
Marx came to believe in naturalism and that society itself must evolve. With that starting point he came to believe all other ideologies contrary to these ideas were against the inevitable, simply roadblocks and obstacles to be crushed by the unstoppable march of human evolution.
Any political adversaries were simply considered enemy reactionaries who deserved no legal rights or protections but rather stern and severe punishment and castigation up to the point of imprisonment or execution for the crime of retarding humanity’s relentless march towards perfection. Only beliefs and actions that advance socialism can be considered “right” under this thinking, which ultimately imitates social Darwinism to a “T.”
Ultimately, no world system will ever be truly just and perfect until the perfect one, Jesus Christ, comes to rule. However, God’s Word lays out several truths and laws contrary to socialism that were imbedded into the western societies that adopted them, which produced the most fair and equitable countries this world has ever seen.
Despite the claims of socialists who point to the many sinful actions of leaders and individuals or to unjust or shameful laws of the past or present, Marxism, communism, and socialism violate many of God’s ordained laws and principles for society and should be rejected by those that hold to scriptural authority.
In Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?”
Jesus’s response is a detailed description of the condition of the world and what it will look like in the last days. Wars and rumours of wars, nation rising against nation, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, these being the beginning of sorrows.
In Luke 21:25, Jesus says, “There will be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth Distress of Nations with Perplexity, the seas and the wave roaring.”