Numerous conditions on the ground in belie the fact that Cuba is ruled by a tyrannical dictatorship.
The lack of free elections.
The lack of freedom of speech.
The lack of freedom of the press.
But perhaps the most illustrative example of the pervasiveness and brutality of the Castro regime is that it reserves for itself the power to decide who gets to leave the country.
Most nations try to control who enters the country, but Cuba — like other dictatorships before — devotes as much, if not more, energy to blocking those Cubans who want to leave to find the freedoms missing on the island.
Only a dictator would do that.
The odds are against those Cubans denied permission to leave but still try. And the retaliation by the regime, which cannot deal with the rejection, can be harsh.
Just consider the hundreds, if not thousands, of Cubans — like Héctor Larroque Rego — in prison after being convicted of such a "crime."
Online, there aren't a lot of details about Larroque, now 32, except that in August 2000, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for "illegal exit.