Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Games they play in Havana

For the past 50 or so years, the Castro regime has spent a lot of time, money and effort silencing any form of dissent.

It’s been a huge but largely successful task: exposing and exterminating real or imagined enemies whose only crime, in many cases, has been to question the totalitarian nature of the “revolution”.

Since the very beginning, this uncompromising war on opponents – regardless of whether they are from the Right or the Left – has involved Stalinist show trials and public executions, lengthy prison sentences, official harassment, intimidation of dissidents and their families, occasional beatings and outright discrimination.

Although it’s fair to say that executions are rare nowadays (let’s be grateful for small mercies), this eradication campaign continues unabated, as you can see from the latest “expose” by the Castro brothers.

This time around, senior officials from the Stasi-trained political police and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have staged a press conference to “reveal” how the top US diplomat in Havana, Michael Parmly, is handing over money from Cuban exiles to some dissidents on the island.

Using emails, secret photographs and videos, the officials claim that Mr Parmly, who runs the US Interest Section in Havana, has “carried envelopes with money” from a Miami-based foundation described by the Cuban officials as a “terrorist front”.

The dissidents named as having received the money in sums ranging from USD200 to USD2,400, include Jose Luis Garcia Perez, Martha Beatriz Roque and significantly, Laura Pollan, one of the Damas de Blanco.

Of course, the whole thing is just a corrupt and corrosive charade. Not terribly new and not very inventive, either, but it has provided and will continue to provide a nasty little distraction for the foreign media based in Havana, much as planned.

And it will force the small but increasingly plucky band of opponents inside the island to justify their existence once again, which is also much as planned by the thugs in the regime, who are experts at this sort of thing.

Mind you, if nothing else, this latest piece of nasty entertainment has confirmed yet again that sadly, not much has changed in Cuba under the “reformist” Raul Castro.


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