On Saturday Castro’s court handed down a sentence of 15 years to Alan Gross, a contractor for USAID jailed in Cuba since Dec. 2009 for bringing cell-phone and internet equipment into Castro’s fiefdom. Mr Gross was trying to help Cuba’s tiny Jewish community communicate more freely with the outside world.
Upon being bestowed their coveted Havana bureau in 1997, CNN Bureau chief Lucia Newman (now with Al Jazeera) assured viewers that, “CNN will be given total freedom to do what we want and to work without censorship.” Alas, CNN has little to report on the “trial” except for the verdict. The trial, in perfect keeping with the Stalinist regime’s agenda, was closed to all media.
So we’ll never know the evidence, but the Castroite judge ruled that the Castroite prosecution, “demonstrated the participation of the North American contractor in a subversive project of the U.S. government that aimed to destroy the Revolution through the use of communication systems out of the control of authorities.” (emphasis mine.)
And there’s the hitch: control of the authorities. Not even Libya or China seek to control, cell-phone and internet access. Censor? Absolutely. But outright control of all means of communication is a fetish peculiar to Communists. (And no, the Chinese regime is no longer technically Communist, though certainly despicable and dangerous.)
Regarding the Alan Gross sentence, Senator Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was among the first to fire: “Mr. Gross is simply a humanitarian who was seeking to help the Jewish community in Cuba access the Internet, and he deserves to be freed and reunited with his family at once. With Mr. Gross’ sentencing, the Castro regime has effectively demonstrated the hopeless and dangerous naiveté of this administration’s policy toward the regime.”
Obama’s “outreach” (a.k.a. naiveté’) to Castro, started early. “We have seen Raul Castro’s comments and we welcome this overture,” gushed Sec. of State Hillary Clinton at the Latin American Summit in April 2009. “We are taking a very serious look at it. We are continuing to look for productive ways forward, because we view the present (Pres. Bush’s) policy as having failed. Engagement is a useful tool to advance our national interests.”
Deeds quickly followed words. In executive order after executive order, Pres. Obama abolished Pres. Bush’s travel and remittance restrictions to Castro’s terrorist-sponsoring fiefdom to a point where the cash-flow from the U.S. to Cuba today is estimated at $4 billion a year. While a proud Soviet satrapy Cuba received $3-5 billion annually from the Soviets. Some “embargo.”
The U.S. embassy in Cuba (officially euphemized as a “U.S. Diplomatic Mission” or “Interest Section”) also responded to Mr Gross sentence: “He is guilty of nothing more than caring for the Jewish community and the people of Cuba,” said the embassy’s Public Affairs officer, Gloria Berbena, “the Cuba government seeks to criminalize what most of the world deems normal (my emphasis) — in this case, access to information and technology.”
So Cuba is Communist after all! Did Ms Barbena think she was being posted to Denmark? Maybe if our “diplomatic mission’s” officers spent less time partying with Fidel Castro’s son and the son of the Vice chief of Cuba’s Secret police, they’d learn how someone like Alan Gross might be subject to arrest. For proof of the above-mentioned partying see these pictures recently smuggled from Cuba.
Based on the reporting by networks and press agencies bestowed Havana bureaus, an Obama-appointed diplomat can be forgiven for forgetting this: but Castro’s is a Stalinist regime. Based on modern college textbooks this diplomat can be forgiven for never knowing this: but such regimes are rigidly totalitarian. Based on modern public education this diplomat can be forgiven not knowing what totalitarian means: but it means total state control of every facet of their subjects’ life.
Former political prisoner Armando Valladares, who somehow escaped the firing squad but spent 22 torture-filled years in Cuba’s Gulag, described his trial very succinctly: “not one witness to accuse me, not one to identify me, not one single piece of evidence against me.” Senor Valladares was arrested in 1961 for the crime of refusing to display a pro-Castro sign on his desk. Shortly after his arrival on U.S. shores, Senor Valladares was appointed by Ronald Reagan as U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, a setting where both Fidel Castro and Che Guevara traditionally basked in wild ovations. Modern history records few U.S. diplomatic tweaks as slick, or U.S. ambassadors as effective.
“When it is a question of annihilating the enemy,” pronounced Stalin’s chief prosecutor Andrei Vishinsky, “we can do it just as well without a trial.”
“Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail,” explained Castro’s first hangman, Che Guevara, “we execute from Revolutionary conviction.”
Our “diplomats” in Cuba might take note.