In most countries, protecting the borders includes controlling who can cross a foreign border.
In totalitarian societies like Cuba, however, the authorities work just as hard — if not harder — in controlling who can leave. That's why under the Cuban "justice" system, there is a charge known as "illegal exit." The gulag is full of prisoners who dared to resist the Castro dictatorship by trying to flee it.
In the eyes of the authorities, that's what Rolando Pérez Oro, an activist with the Christian Liberation Movement, was planning to do when they caught him last April building a boat in the backyard of his house. They fined him 22,000 pesos, and when it became obvious he wasn't going to pay, he was convicted last month of another bogus charge — "disobedience — and sentenced to 1 year in prison.
The police moved so fast, Pérez told independent journalist Juan González, that none of his supporters were able to attend his "trial."