The Cold War never quite ended. At least two countries still sport that old-fashioned “Second World” status of ostensibly communist, definitely totalitarian, and utterly crazed leadership: North Korea and Cuba.
Alan Gross, age 65, was convicted of un-Cuban activities in 2011, and has since been serving a 15-year prison sentence. He was a subcontractor, working in Cuba, for the U.S. Agency for International Development. What, precisely, did he do “wrong”?
U.S. officials said Gross was merely trying to help Cubans bypass the island’s stringent restrictions on Internet access. But Cuban authorities say Gross was part of a plot to create “a Cuban spring” and destabilize the island’s single-party communist government.
The two interpretations are not exactly at odds with one another. Sure, he was trying to bring the Internet to Cuba. And that’s why the communist government was suspicious: free information would likely bolster opposition to the commie way of stasis.
Which just goes to show how awful single-party states are, how mind-crushingly awful communism is: restrictive; vindictive; paranoid; cowardly.
These qualities are supposed to be absent from New Socialist Man, of course, qualities found only — at least, in ultra-left theory — under capitalism and democracy.
But, instead, they serve as hallmarks of governments that cannot trust their subjects with even a smidgeon of freedom.
Gross is now reportedly weak, and has given up on life. Prison life in a prison society is not worth it, he says.
We can hope for a prisoner exchange. But really, what’s needed is a change of government in Cuba.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.