Need further proof that all of Cuba is a prison?
Then consider this: It is againt the law to leave the country without the government's permission — an authority the dictatorship abuses to exercise its control of the populace, whether by restricting who can take advantage of a visa granted by the United States or other foreign country, or punishing those desperate enough to try to escape their island hell.
Fidel Castro's gulag is brimming with men like Yosvani Carmona Cuello, convicted in 2002 of attempted "illegal exit," and sentenced to 10 years in prison. (Some accounts say Carmona was sentenced to 15 years in prison.)
The Internet provided few clues about Carmona's alleged "crime," but like others convicted of trying to illegally leave Cuba, Carmona also was convicted of "piracy," which suggests he tried to hijack a boat to freedom.
In a sane world, that would be a crime, maybe even an act of terrorism. It is possible Carmona had to scare the hell out of someone, to get his way.
But he is not a common criminal. He is a political prisoner, because however frightening his crime might have been, it is not as awful as the terror he was trying to escape. He was rejecting the communist system, and rejecting one of the more heartless methods it uses to oppress, and repress the Cuban people.
In the coming weeks, I will be profiling more Cuban political prisoners, in jail because they were caught trying to escape.
One of the surest indicators of the repressive nature of the Castro regime is the jailing of political prisoners. To illustrate that reality, Uncommon Sense each week profiles one prisoner. There also is a Political Prisoner archive on the right sidebar. To suggest a prisoner for a profile, send me an e-mail.
For profiles of imprisoned Cuban journalists and related information, read the March 18 Project.