“On island hit by U.S. sanctions and Venezuela downturn, Cubans flash back to post-Soviet hardships.”
Pushed by the implosion of top ally Venezuela and sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, Cuba has driven into an economic ditch. The government has tightened state rations. Residents stand in lines for hours to buy scarce basic goods such as eggs, flour and chicken.
For many Cubans, ration lines and ostrich farms recall the grim “Special Period” in the 1990s after the collapse of its benefactor, the Soviet Union. As the Communist-run island endured near famine conditions, residents devoured cats and fried “steaks” made of breaded grapefruit rind.
“We are starting to go into a new special period,” said Osmary Armas, 45, who owns a neoclassical mansion turned bed-and-breakfast that has been largely bereft of U.S. visitors in recent months. “Things are very bad.”
For years, American officials made no secret of their belief that if the U.S. turned the economic screws, the Cuban government would be forced out. But the Cuban regime has had nearly six decades of experience defying the U.S., administering scarcity and dishing out repression.
Cuba’s police state is intact. The government has scant opposition, and commands the loyalties of many.
Is there so little opposition because the Castroite police state is so effective, because people have been conditioned to believe that scarcity is normal, or is this a time to embrace the healing power of “and?”