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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. The crime? 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 rub: 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 Marco Rubio 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 [President 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, Obama abolished 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. Compare this to the proud Soviet Cuba that received $3-5 billion annually from the Soviets. Some “embargo.”
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