Thursday, April 24, 2003

# Posted 9:15 AM by Patrick Belton  

NEEDED A REMINDER THAT CUBA'S GOVERNMENT IS PRETTY DOWNRIGHT EVIL? Feeling tempted to tag along to one of the multiple peregrinations of Yale seniors to Cuba, because, heck, it's slightly illicit and the food and salsa are so darn good there? Then for homework, go and read this.

For those of you who are on a slim diet of clicks in the pre-summer run up (and for those you who aren't, then also check out this and this and this and...), the article (from this morning's WaPo) shows how pervasive the Cuban police state apparatus has become: Cuban domestic intelligence placed agents in the human rights community, and as friends and executive assistants to noted academics suspected of harboring reformist views, and as journalists posing as sympathetic to reformers. When after fifteen years' time, these agents then became presidents of leading human rights organizations (as did Odilia Collazo, Agent Tania to her handlers), confidantes and assistants to leading academics - with access to their files and email passwords (as did Aleida de las Mercedes Godinez, or Agent Vilma), or president of an independent journalists' association with friendships to key reporters (as did Nestor Baguer, Agent Octavio), the Cuban government was able to develop comprehensive information on the most intimate thoughts, musings, or emails of these journalists, human rights organization members, academics, etc. - with the goal of imprisoning the latter for two decades for "subversive activities" (as happened to 75 noble people earlier this month, including some of Cuba's best-known poets, journalists, human rights workers, and professors). Absolutely sickening - this regime is a blight on the hemisphere, and on the democratic aspirations of mankind.

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