I keep a steady stream of informational and editorial videos running on YouTube as I go through the non-work parts of my day. Because advertising is what keeps the service free for the user, I tend not to skip ads. I might focus on something else or briefly step away from my phone or computer but the ad play gets logged, YouTube gets paid, and I get to avoid another subscription. During the election season the number of political ads is insufferable but every so often legitimate content runs in the ad space and I cannot look away or skip it.
On October 24th, Turning Point USA published a video where Charlie Kirk speaks briefly about socialism and introduces Sirley Àvila Leòn, a Cuban woman, who shared her real life horror experience in communist Cuba. The 12 minute video is worth your time to get an idea of what socialism actually looks like on the ground.
Sirley Àvila Leòn begins her story with the issue that motivated her to speak out for change. Leòn, who ran a small farm with livestock and fruit trees, was selected as a delegate to the People’s Assembly to represent her community in an eastern province of Cuba. Her role was to communicate the issues and difficulties of the peasants to the government. When the Cuban government decided to consolidate smaller schools in rural areas because each location was serving a small number of children, Leòn shared her concerns with the government. The peasants were worried that if their local schools shut down that children would be walking many miles to the nearest available school.
She described how she went to the municipal government, then tried to present her neighbors’ concerns to the provincial government. Finally, she went to the national government to present her case. At every level she was stonewalled by government officials. She went to the national government to plead her case twelve times and was still ignored.
When she returned home Leòn experienced retribution from the government she served. The government settled dangerous prisoners on the edge of her property; her home was vandalized and livestock was stolen. When she searched for information about dissident organizations her son was fired from his military career and denied him an income, and faced demands that he denounce her as crazy. The pressure campaign didn’t sway the support she had from family and neighbors so the government decided to step it up. A couple arrived at her door looking for work and Leòn took them in and gave them a job and a place to live.
Later, when Leòn went into town to complete paperwork for the ministry of agriculture, she surprised her neighbors who had been told she had moved away. Upon return to her home Leòn found the couple that she took in waiting for her. The man was holding a sharpened machete and announced that he was going to use it on her. He started hacking at Leòn and she lost part of her left arm. Just as he was about to deliver the kill shot, his young grandson came out and responded with shock. The man lost his nerve and didn’t kill Leòn.
Her neighbors called for help but the police never showed and an ambulance appeared hours later. At the hospital, Leòn was left unattended for hours and the doctors did shoddy work once they did get around to her. She doesn’t elaborate whether the poor medical care was the result of political decisions or incompetence.
Leòn eventually was able to get to the United States where she received proper medical care. She praised the United States as a place where people have the freedom to express themselves and the freedom to choose how to live. She said that anarchy, communism, and socialism aren’t capable of delivering what they promise and do not defend their citizens.
Why This Matters
Whether listening to Leòn’s story on video or reading the recap above the first thing that should jump out at the reader is that Leòn was not a terrorist or a disruptive protester. She was not even one of the Ladies in White who publicly protests government policy. Leòn was a member of the community in good standing. She believed in the system of government enough to participate in the political process and represent the interests of her community in Cuba’s socialist system.
The moment she became inconvenient to the people in charge they didn’t cancel her on social media. They didn’t send mean tweets or post nasty comments on her Instagram posts. The people in charge tried to cancel her. As in dead.
This is the danger of leftists. They apply the vice of pressure from above — government diktats like the corona virus lock-downs — and pressure from below — street violence targeting those with whom they disagree — to get what they want.
If socialism comes to America we won’t have targeted attempted killings like the one Sirley Àvila Leòn described, at least not at first. But we will be on the road to a very grim destination.