"We think that's a positive sign,” said Sec. of State Clinton. “It's something that is overdue but nevertheless very welcome."
“Gosh, Castro only jails about 150 political prisoners?” might remark a typical NY Times reader (maybe even Hillary.) “So why all the fuss about Cuba’s human-rights problems? Heck, we keep almost double that many prisoners in Guantanamo!”
In fact, the New York Times (“Fidel Castro is not only NOT a Communist, he is decidedly ANTI-Communist. In Cuba there are NO COMMUNISTS in positions of control.” New York Times, June 1959) probably picked up the political prisoner release story from the Associated Press, another outfit with “a past” on Castroism.
Firstly, the AP has been bestowed a Havana Bureau. This privilege is not bequeathed randomly. A resume’ highlighting servility to Castro’s propaganda ministry should always be attached to the application form.
Secondly, the AP’s dispatches on Castro’s rebellion in 1957-58 were written word for word by Fidel Castro's own agent in New York.
Kindly stifle the shrieks of “Mc Carthyism at Townhall!” This datum comes from the author of those hilariously fraudulent dispatches himself, Mario Llerana, who later defected. He then authored a mea-culpa book titled The Unsuspected Revolution, wherein he revealed the AP-Castro racket.
In keeping with their exemplary Cuban record, just last month the AP reported (i.e. transcribed a handout from Castro’s propaganda ministry) on the Castro regime’s response to U.S. accusations against them for abetting sexual slavery and child prostitution :
“These shameful slanders profoundly hurt the Cuban people,” the AP quoted Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry's North American affairs office In Cuba. “There is no sexual abuse against minors (in Cuba), but rather an exemplary effort to protect children, young people and women.”
No mention by the AP (or from others who picked up the story, including the Miami Herald and even Fox News) that Josefina Vidal Ferreiro was booted from the U.S. in May, 2003 for espionage. Note the date of her booting, and recall the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The The Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuban spycatcher, Lieut. Col. Christopher Simmons , (now retired) had a key role in uncovering the Josefina Vidal spy ring. He strongly suspects that many of the U.S. military secrets Vidal and her ring shipped home to Castro were transmitted to Saddam Hussein.
The recent AP story that mentions 150-200 total Cuban political prisoners (and which has also been picked up unquestioningly by the MSM) could also profit from more “depth.” To wit:
A Samizdat prepared by the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation' and smuggled out of Cuba in 2003 reported hundreds of Cuban prisons crammed with tens of thousands of what would be considered political prisoners in any civilized country. “'Here, people get thrown in prison for anything, reported Cuban dissident Vladimiro Roca (whose father helped found Cuba’s Communist party, btw.) “If you kill a cow to feed your family, you go to jail. That's part of the government's method to maintain control over the population.''
“The estimated 300 political prisoners in Cuba make up only a fraction of what may be the world's most extensive per-capita prison gulag,” reported a Miami Herald story detailing the Cuban Commission on Human Rights report. “Cuba today has an estimated 100,000 inmates in about 200 prisons and correctional labor camps. (Pre-castro Cuba counted 12 prisons, by the way.) A 1995 U.N. report on Cuba's human rights situation in Cuba estimated there were ``between 100,000 and 200,000 prisoners in all categories.''
Granted, calculating the exact number suffering in Castro’s Gulag is no easier than it was for those calculating the number inside Stalin’s. Cuba, who sits prominently on the UN Human Rights Council, forbids that council along with any other Human Rights group from visiting its jails. Who but Fidel Castro could pull this off without a raised eyebrow, sneer or snark by the wisenheimers of the MSM?
To help the AP, its customers, along with the U.S. State Department in calculating and comprehending Cuba’s “political” prisoner population, perhaps listing a tiny portion of the “crimes” that land you in Castro’s dungeons will help:
I. To say "Down with Fidel!" or “Che Sucks!” Cuba’s constitution” mandates 18 months in prison for anyone overheard cracking a joke against Castro or Che.
2. Travel abroad without permission from the government. (which is granted mostly to regime toadies and hacks.
3... Switch jobs without regime permission.
4. Switch homes without regime permission...
5. Publish anything without regime permission.
6. Own a personal computer, a fax machine or a satellite antenna.
7. Access the Internet. Cuba’s Internet is under constant regime “surveillance,” by the secret police. Only 1.7% of the population has access to the web, a lower percentage than in Papua New Guinea. This is a nation that pre-Castro/Che had more telephones and TV’s per-capita than most European countries
8. Tune in to any free radio or television station. In Cuba all media is property of the Stalinist regime.
9. Sell any personal belongings, services, homemade foods or crafts without regime permission...
10. Openly communicate with foreign journalists.
The list stretches for several more pages but time and bandwith considerations force us to haul up for now.