There are many facets of Cuban life that testify to the cruelty of the regime that has enslaved the island for more than 50 years.
For instance, it is illegal for a Cuban to leave the country without the permission of the government.
Most nations, with varying degrees of success, concentrate on protecting its borders from outsiders.
But Cuba, like its former totalitarian cousins in Eastern Europe used to, devotes as much effort to keeping its people from leaving their tropical gulag, resorting at times to measures as extreme as murder.
And Cuba's prisons holds dozens, if not hundreds, of people convicted of "illegal exit," a "political crime" if there ever was one, because those guilty of it, are not just trying to leave the country without permission, they are rejecting everything about the dictatorship that enslaves them.
Of course, sometimes, the dictatorship uses the supposed crime of "illegal exit," to silence its critics, to lock them because of their politics.
Observers say that is what happened to human rights activists Adel Ramón López Nápoles and Santo del Pozo Rodríguez. Members of the Cuban Human Rights Foundation, López and del Pozo were arrested Sept. 11, 2007, on charges of illegal exit. During 10 days of detention, they were subjected to "rigorous" interrogations, according to one report.
On March 25, 2008, they were tried, convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison. After their appeal was rejected, they were imprisoned Aug. 21, 2008, in a prison in their home province of Piñar del Rio.
I could not find any information about events leading up their arrest, but even if they actually were trying to leave Cuba — after all who could blame them? — their case illustrates the fundamental cruelty and illegitimacy of the Castro regime and to what lengths it goes to maintain its grips on the Cuban people.
The "illegal exit" law is nothing about preserving the national security or integrity of the island.
It is all about dictatorship maintaining its control, its power over the Cuban people.
Those who break that grip by trying to flee are, indeed, very, very dangerous.