At its core, the Castro dictatorship — as led first by Fidel Castro and now by his little brother Raúl — is a band of gangsters. Like the Corleones or the Sopranos, they use fear in too many forms to count to enslave, intimidate and oppress the Cuban people. They may dress up their tactics in the rhetoric of the "revolution" — and Hollywood and other allies and useful idiots may romanticize their record — but cut through the lies and the propaganda, and you find little more than extortionists, kidnappers and killers.
Independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas, a victim of the dictatorship many times over, experienced that reality last week in a very scary fashion.
Fariñas on the morning of Dec. 18 was at a Havana bus stop — he had plans to go to the Dutch Embassy to use the Internet — when a couple of military agents forced him into a car, ordered him to place his head between his legs and drove him to what presumably was a police station.
The agents told Fariñas that they would not tolerate any further protests like those seen in Cuba on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. More ominously, they threatened to charge Fariñas with "revealing state secrets," if he continued to report about the dictatorship's intelligence and counter-intelligence methods.
Once they had delivered their message, they packed Fariñas back into their car, drove him to a deserted street in a Havana neighborhood and released him.
Fariñas, 45, is one of the giants of the Cuban opposition. Not only has he chronicled the reality of Cuba today as a journalist. He also has put his life on the line to challenge the dictatorship and to expose its true repressive nature.
In 2006, Fariñas went on a lengthy hunger strike, after the dictatorship's censors barred him from using the Internet to transmit his stories after the Miami Herald quoted him as criticizing the regime. Fariñas quickly expanded his protest to demand that all Cubans have unfettered access to the Internet.
Fariñas ended his protest before the dictatorship gave in to his demands, but he was successful in raising awareness about how the dictatorship's repressive ways had extended attempts to control the Internet.
More than two years later, the gangsters of the Castro dictatorship are still trying to silence him.