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.)
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.