The debate on gun control is revived in the United States every time there is a shooting involving civilians. This time, the demonstrations promoting legislative reforms are led by young people: survivors of the last school shooting.
Among them, a young woman of Cuban descent, Emma González , who wears the island-nation’s flag on her jacket. A fact that generates discomfort among the Cuban exiles who fled a regime that denied them their most basic rights, including self-defense.
An exile’s experience with civilian disarmament
Rebeca Ester Ulloa Sarmiento is a journalist and researcher who fled Cuba for exile in Florida, where the last shooting took place.
Gun control, far from being comforting to her, generates “much apprehension.”
She was only 10 years old when Castro came to power in 1959. Now, at almost 70 years old, she realizes how disarming the people, was disastrous for Cubans; even for those who had fought alongside Castro in his so-called revolution and ended up as victims of his firing squad.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why the Castro dictatorship has been in power on the island for more than half a century,” she says.
She adds: “That is why I view with great fear the campaign for disarmament and gun control in this country, where I live and of which I am a citizen, and which, in addition to being grateful for, I love. Every time there is a demonstration, like the one on Saturday, March 24, where slogans are shouted, feelings are exalted, and the group even seems to fall into a kind of collective hysteria, I go into shock.”
“I remember the young Germans cheering Hitler; the Cubans cheering Fidel Castro in the plaza; the military and citizens destroying books and paintings in the well-known Chinese Cultural Revolution. Then I ask myself: who is behind the gun control campaign in the United States of America?”
Message to Emma González and her contemporaries about growing up under a government that denies the right to self-defense
“I am happy to live in a democracy where young people take to the streets in peaceful marches in solidarity with the victims, asking for reforms, in this case, the use of weapons. But what I would like to suggest to the young protesters and to Emma González, who has turned into a leader and the face of the movement, is to be alert, because they are a vulnerable group, both because of their age and because of violent events in which many of them have been directly or indirectly involved. They can easily be manipulated by groups and people, who are only looking for a pretext to cause more problems for the presidency of the United States,” Ulloa says.
“And because I grew up in a country where the Castro dictatorship completely prevented every right to self-defense for its citizens, I tell them not to fall into that trap.”
“Ask for justice, ask for reform, ask for protection, all that is very good, but do not allow your movement to be [used] by external organizations. The youth and student movements must take care to define themselves and decide upon their own strategies, and not accept financial aid from outside groups: therein lies the danger.”
“It is not prudent to demand disarmament, because that opens the door to abuses by totalitarian and absolutist regimes,” she argues.
Use of the Cuban flag
Ulloa adds that there is no mention “of the fact that young Emma has been linked to any group that supports the Cuban opposition, nor have we read anything about a pronouncement against the Castro dictatorship. So it seems contradictory to us that she wears the Cuban flag on her jacket.”
“I do not find it coherent; the conspicuous presence of the Cuban flag, with an attitude full of belligerence when leading a group that calls for radical reforms, that calls for disarmament,” she reiterates.
Also, despite the young woman being a spokesperson for the “Gay-Straight Alliance” and declaring herself bisexual, she carries the flag of a regime that at the height of its revolution condemned homosexuals to forced labor camps.
Symbols on the stage: olive green jacket and blue letters on the banners
Ulloa says she would like to talk about Cuba with Emma. As a young person, she seems attracted to irreverence.
However, she alleges that Emma’s use of symbols is raising suspicions among the Cuban exiles.
“Olive green is the color of Castro, of the Cuban dictatorship. Why does Emma wear a military jacket on the march? What are you trying to represent?” she asks.
“The blue color of the U.S. Democratic party is present in the professionally crafted banners, and include caricatures of Emma. The blue in the letters of the stage, the blue in the jackets of the participants,” Ulloa highlights.
She finds similarities between these gun control protesters and those who protested against Donald Trump when he assumed the presidency. And she also questions where the money comes from for all the protests and banners.
“My suspicion is growing when I see that this campaign, which apparently is led by students, has Democratic Party senators supporting it, and that the Univision and CNN networks are the ones that are enthusiastically covering the protests.”
She suggests that Emma has the ideal profile to be thrown into the political ring, and she is in danger of being used for purposes that perhaps she does not even suspect: “I would like to be wrong, but in situations like this one, one suspects political bias, which makes one think that the gun control campaign, in truth, is not so spontaneous and that it can result in dire consequences for the United States and the world.”
She references the founding father, Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little safety, deserve neither.”
She concludes: “we must think about the essential and long-lasting, which is the ability of being ready to defend our home, our city, and our nation.”