On December 3rd, 2009, Castro’s KGB-trained police arrested Alan Gross, a U.S. citizen working in Cuba on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Mr. Gross has languished in a KGB-designed prison cell ever since. His crime was bringing cell phone and Internet equipment into Castro’s fiefdom to help Cuba’s tiny Jewish community communicate more freely with the outside world.
A reminder: Pre-Castro Cubans enjoyed some of the most advanced communications systems in the world. In 1958 Cuba boasted more phones and TVs per capita than most European countries. Today, Castro’s fiefdom has fewer Internet users per capita than Uganda, and fewer cell phones than Papua New Guinea. The Stalinist regime is very vigilant in these matters.
By the way, introducing cutting-edge communications equipment into Cuba didn’t always land Americans in torture chambers. In 1957 ATT presented Cuban “Dictator” (according to every media mention) Fulgencio Batista with a Golden Telephone for his regime’s enthusiastic welcome of all of their latest technology. This Cuban “dictator” reveled in the fact that Cubans had better, more abundant and cheaper means of communications than most Europeans. You might recall the scene from Goldfather II where Hyman Roth and Michael Corleone pass the Golden telephone around Batista’s conference table. This one scene contains an element of historically accuracy.
In March 2011, after he had lost almost 100 pounds from his prison ordeal, a Castroite court finally got around to actually trying their American hostage Alan Gross. They condemned him to a prison sentence of 15 years for working for an agency of the U.S. government “that aimed to destroy the Revolution through the use of communication systems out of the control of authorities.”
And there’s the hitch: “control of the authorities.” Not even Gadaffi’s late regime, or Assad’s in Syria or Hu Jintau’s in 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, which no longer applies to the mainland Chinese regime, though it certainly remains despicable and dangerous. No “control-freaks” have ever shackled the human body and mind with the fanaticism and efficiency of Communists. The Castro regime, lest we forget, was founded in 1959. Essentially the same people are running it today as ran it then. Many of the Russians and Spanish Reds who designed Castro’s judicial and prison system had worked for Stalin.
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.