Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cuba Stalls Relations With US, Imprisons Internet Programmer


Cuba Fails Leadership Test

Computer Programmer gets 15 years for setting up wireless internet.

The third world is desperately in need of a country which can serve as a model for it's people.  Many countries have tried, including Venezuela and Cuba.  Unfortunately, Cuban leaders continue to cast darkness over the island by keeping their people away from all media sources not approved by the state and by unjust imprisonment of anyone who attempts to give Cubans access to the free press.

Computer programmer Allen Gross brought a hi-tech computer system into the country.  His goal was to establish an internet system for the Jewish community living in Cuba.  Little did Gross realize how the Cuban government would look upon a stranger bringing Cubans access to a free world wi-fi hot-spot.

Gross brought with him a satellite telephone which he could link to his computer.  The 9201 Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) kit allowed the computer to connect to the internet which gives you access to this story.  With the computer acting as a hub for a hot spot, some Cuban citizens could finally read the Wall Street Journal,  and anything else they wanted to research.  Cubans could also gain access to points of view which are contrary to state controlled media.

Gross insists that was not his intention.

Gross Stated:  I have never, would never, and will never purposely or knowingly do anything personally or professionally to subvert a government or political system, or bring harm to anyone ... How any sovereign nation, other than the U.S., governs itself is not my business, nor is it my practice or business to express an opinion about the government of any country in which I am a guest.”
   -- Alan Gross, March 4, 2011

Cuba has had 50 years to convince it's people one government, one party, and "the revolution" is all that counts.  If their concept of the state owning nearly everything and controlling everything is so beneficial, then they should have no fear if their people have free access to information.  The philosophy will win out.  If the people choose an alternative government structure, as altruistic stewards of the country, the ruling class should go along.  Perhaps there was a time when a military government had to make tough decisions in Cuba.  That time has passed.

The truth is, Cuba's embargo of free thinking and free ideas has been as destructive to the Cuban people as the embargo of tangible goods and services by the free world.

Many countries are willing to trade with Cuba.  When President Barak Obama was elected as president, there was even a strong thaw of U.S. Cuban relations.  After taking a major step forward, Cuban authorities shut the door by arresting a Jewish computer programmer who wanted to establish internet for the Jewish community living in Cuba.

The country of Cuba makes a perfect example of what is the matter with Communism.  All communistic states are mortally afraid of the truth.  Anyone who speaks against the state is at risk for immediate arrest.  In Allen's case, to set up a computer network, or import a video camera, was construed to be plotting against the "revolution".  

Revolutions are sometimes good things.  When revolution leads to the shattering of personal freedom and loss of the inalienable right to investigate information, it is a revolution with a bad ending. Cuba could be the leader of the third world in establishing a place where free thinking and free people choose what is best for themselves.

However, when people don't have free access to information, then they are not free to make their own decisions.  Certainly, the U.S. embargo has not helped the economy of Cuba.  Now, the biggest obstacle to Cuba normalizing relations and serving as a leader of the third world countries are the people in power who destroy civil liberty.

What Allen Gross was trying to do is nothing more than a Starbucks Coffee or any internet cafe might try to do.  Creating internet networks in Cuba without first giving the STATE complete control over what can be seen on those networks is what got Allen 15 years in a hell hole in Cuba.  For each person Cuba grabs off of the street, to be held hostage and used as a pawn, Cuba imprisons herself in fear, in lost tourist dollars, in icy relations with a country 90 miles off her coast that could be a big help to Cuba.

The Cuban government is taking glee over the lawsuit filed on behalf of Allen Gross against the company which sent Gross to Cuba.  A large settlement was reportedly made for sending Gross into a hostile country without warning him of the risks.

It is always the last laugh that counts.  Real progress can be made with President Barack Obama, but not with Cuba jeering at the imprisonment and lawsuit.  If Cuba waits until conservative thinkers are swept into office, their chances of normalizing relations and moving their people ahead, could be lost for years.

Picture courtesy of Capitol Hill Cubans

Cuba is lost in it's past with a revolution that is 50 years old.  When Cuba allows the light of knowledge to take the island out of darkness, there is a future. Meanwhile, the hostage Cuba took is in failing health and of no value dead.  Cuba's actions put all travelers on notice, don't bring wireless hotspots to Cuba.  In fact, this is a place tourists should avoid for fear of being made the hostage of a regime whose resentments continue to fester at the expense of the Cuban people.

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