For US President Joe Biden, the recent unrest in Cuba should persuade his administration not to repeat the mistakes of the Obama era and attempt some form of rapprochement with Havana. The US, as it is apparently able to do, should also immediately restore the ability of the Cuban people to use their internet. Pictured: Cuban police in riot gear are deployed to quell anti-regime protests in Havana on July 12, 2021. (Photo by Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)
Nothing better illustrates the utter bankruptcy of communist ideology than Cuba's basket case economy, which has resulted in the country suffering its largest wave of anti-government protests in at least three decades.
To date, at least one protester has been killed and hundreds more detained, as the communist regime founded by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has responded with characteristic brutality to the outpouring of nationwide dissent.
The root cause of the protests has been the dire state of the Cuban economy, with Cubans protesting at the lack of basic food and medicines. To further add to their misery, the country's inept mishandling of the Coronavirus means that the country's 11 million inhabitants now have more Covid cases per capita than any major Latin American nation.
The autocratic regime of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel may be totally incapable of meeting even the basic needs of its citizens but, as the ruthless crackdown against the protesters has shown, it still understands how to intimidate its restless population.
No sooner had thousands of Cubans taken to the streets in what appears to have been spontaneous protests throughout the country, than the regime's security forces were in action reasserting its authority.
Special forces and police flooded the streets, and internet connections were cut across the island to prevent dissidents from attempting to coordinate the protests, with the result that, within hours, nearly all the protesters had dispersed.
Since the initial protests on July 11 in the western city of San Antonio de los Banos and later spread to more than 40 towns and cities -- including the capital Havana -- the security forces, aided by rapid reaction brigades and Communist Party militants armed with heavy sticks, have been busy rounding up more than one hundred dissidents.
Nevertheless, while the Cuban authorities may congratulate themselves on suppressing the disturbances, there is mounting evidence that, this time around, the desire of an increasingly vocal Cuban opposition for radical change in the way their country is run may ultimately prove irresistible.
Cuba's communist leaders have long prided themselves on their ability to withstand any challenge to the survival of their Marxist revolution. While communist regimes throughout the world, most notably the Soviet Union, have been consigned to the history books, and other communist regimes in places such as China have quietly embraced the benefits of capitalism, Cuba has remained stuck in the anachronistic mindset that has dominated the country since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution.
The big difference now, though, is that, without Castro's charismatic leadership, the regime's current generation of leaders is totally incapable of commanding the support of the Cuban people.
This is the first time Havana's communist government has had to face a major challenge to its authority without having a member of the Castro clan in charge. The last time the country faced large-scale domestic protests in 1994, Castro personally confronted the demonstrators on the capital's Malecon seafront boulevard and succeeded in winning them over.
After Castro died in 2016, he was replaced by his brother Raul. When Raul, who is 90, retired from frontline politics, however, his replacement, Diaz-Canel has shown himself to be a dull party bureaucrat who lacks any hint of revolutionary pedigree. So when the president called on party loyalists to defend the regime against the protesters, most Cubans seemed decidedly underwhelmed.
Add to this the dreadful state of the Cuban economy and it is easy to see why Cuban exiles living in Florida are excited about the prospect of regime change soon taking place in Havana. In the past year the Cuban economy has contracted by more than 11 percent, with the result that Cubans are obliged to queue for hours just to buy basic goods such as chicken and bread.
The Caribbean island is regularly subjected to lengthy electricity outages, while the government's handling of the pandemic has resulted in a massive increase in fatalities, rising from just 146 deaths in 2020 to its current level of nearly 2,000.
Now, thanks to the regime's woeful handling of both the economy and Covid, ordinary Cubans are finally making their true feelings known concerning the failure of Cuba's communist rulers.
This has prompted opponents to amend the old Castro slogan "Patria o Muerte", homeland or death, and turn it into "Patria y Vida", homeland and life.
What is without doubt is that, if Cubans truly want to make a better life for themselves, then they first need to dispense with their oppressive and incompetent communist regime.
For US President Joe Biden, the recent unrest in Cuba should persuade his administration not to repeat the mistakes of the Obama era and attempt some form of rapprochement with Havana's dictatorship.
The US, as it is apparently able to do, should also immediately restore the ability of the Cuban people to use their internet.
One of the reasons Cuba's communist regime is struggling to survive is the impact the hard-hitting sanctions that the previous administration imposed on Cuba is having on the Cuban economy.
Any attempt now by the Biden administration to lift the sanctions would simply be to reward the regime for its brutal repression of the Cuban people.
To keep the sanctions in place would further increase the pressure on the Cuban regime, pressure that could ultimately result in its collapse and the liberation of the Cuban people from their communist oppressors.
Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.