By Guillermo Vidal | Sept. 8, 2020 | Government, Politics, Presidential Election, Leadership, Tyranny, Future of USA
It is ironic to listen to Republicans imply that the Democrats are socialists who will turn the USA into Cuba. That is already happening under the rule of Donald Trump.
I was eight years old in Cuba when Fidel Castro came to power on January 1, 1959. From 1959 until the end of 1961 — the year my parents sent my brothers and I on our own to the USA to start our lives over in an orphanage in Pueblo, Colorado — I witnessed a peaceful and orderly Cuba become a cauldron of chaos.
Over the decades, I was able to build a new life in the USA, a country I believed to be one of hope and promise. But, today, that has become an illusion. When Americans elected someone promising to “drain the swamp” nearly four years ago, I thought a little shaking up would do our country some good. But I never expected the USA to go the way of Cuba.
We are living in unprecedented times where the Executive Branch of our government has and continues to take action in plain violation of the rule of law and our respected traditions. Trump has broken with our allies and cozies up to the world’s most ruthless despots. He leaves our country vulnerable by ignoring well documented evidence that nefarious foreign powers interfered with our elections and are planning to do so again. His treatment of immigrants violates every tenet of human decency.
At first, we all turned our heads hoping things would normalize, but that hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, children continue to be torn from their parents and locked in cages. Cronies who were convicted of federal crimes are pardoned. A discriminating media is tagged “enemy of the people” because they reveal his many fabrications. Day after day, we bear witness to another lie, see a new sign of corruption or hear about another pillar of our government collapsing. His latest effort is to disrupt the coming election results by disassembling the Post Office.
Similarities between Castro and Trump
There is an uncanny resemblance between Castro and Trump. The fact they are from opposing political ideologies demonstrates the inconsequential place political dogma plays in a tyrant’s handbook. Make no mistake, this is not a battle of ideas, this is a man trying to destroy a country so he can rule over the wreckage. Remember, it was only a few years ago that Trump was a pro-choice Democrat. Evidently, he saw an easier road to power by becoming a Republican.
What makes these two men comparable is their desire for the unequivocal control over all spheres of political, social, economic, and cultural life. Similarly, they also demand godlike worship from the people they govern.
Castro did not dismantle Cuba overnight. It happened with a daily trickle of cancelled programs and trampled norms.
First there was a “cleansing” of the opposition. Reporters, musicians, students, actors, comedians, shop owners, neighborhood advocates, athletes, professors, business, political leaders and many others were arrested, found guilty of treason and imprisoned. Some were executed, others mysteriously vanished forever.
He then set out to control the media. All programming was replaced by State coordinated channels showing an endless cycle of stories praising the greatness of “El Jefe”.
They erected monuments in honor of the Revolution. Signs bearing slogans idolizing Fidel and his minions sprouted on every wall and available billboard.
Under Castro, the Cuban constitution and the rule of law became works of fiction. Law enforcement agencies and the military became internal forces geared to dominate citizens.
The new government demolished private industry and confiscated businesses. Government institutions were undone by Castro loyalists who were appointed to dismantle them.
Members of the Catholic Church who had voiced opposition were thrown out of the country. Their private schools taken over by the revolutionary government. The religious who remained looked the other way as Fidel tried to take the place of God in our island nation.
Cuba’s social fabric unraveled. Neighbors, parents, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters fiercely turned against one another over their political differences.
Do any of these things seem familiar to what is happening in the United States today?
Like Castro did in Cuba, Trump has taken a wrecking ball to the institutions that make our nation great. He has even managed to turn venerable Republican legislators into a junta of sycophants and opportunists who enable the President’s lies and misdirection.
Maybe you still believe nothing like this could ever happen here. Well, think again. You probably never thought you would see the day when secret police would terrorize American citizens lawfully protesting on our streets, but here we are. Did the thought ever enter your mind that our federal government would have no coherent plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 180,000 and wrecked our economy? Or that our president would ignore proof that our sworn enemy was offering bounties to kill American troops?
What Happens Next?
If Trump is reelected, he will feel validated, vindicated, empowered and emboldened. What will he do then to consolidate his power? Trump has previously threatened to jail his political opponents. Will he carry this out?
He has removed from their post those who spoke up to reveal blatant corruption by his administration. How many more bootlickers like Barr, Pompeo and Miller will he place to continue ransacking our institutions?
Day in and out, Trump shows his disregard for our country’s checks and balances. Will he try to disband congress next?
In an unprecedented move by a president, Trump has tried to disrupt the dealings of businesses, like Amazon and Microsoft. With the latter, he demand ed payment for his actions. Could a federal government takeover be far behind? Will he continue to use his position to further enrich himself, family members and his cronies?
Are you still doubtful? Then think back on the times you were sure Trump could do nothing more to make things worse, then he did. Trump has proven he has no bottom. Nothing is sacred, there are no boundaries. As it was with Castro, these kinds of tyrants always find ways to lower the bar.
If Trump is reelected, he will continue to transform the “land of the free” into an ineffective, broken down country just like Cuba. And with every billboard, flag and monument that goes up to extol the virtues of “the Donald”, us old timers will remember back when America was a country the entire world admired. And we will lament her descent into another doleful wasteland of a crumbling empire.
Until now, I kept thinking a time would return for us to come together and rebuild our nation. But we may not get that chance, for I hear a real threat to our democracy when Trump suggests delaying the presidential election or that he will ignore the election results.
We have but one chance to stop this damage; vote him and his enablers out of office on November 3rd. We will undoubtedly face unprecedented efforts to suppress our vote and the results of the election, but we must not get discouraged, for the survival of our nation depends on us casting our vote. This is the only action we control.