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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba 386

decora writes "American social worker Alan Phillip Gross, who has spent years connecting developing countries to the internet, has been sentenced by a 'Security Court' in Cuba to 15 years in prison. His crime: 'Acts against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State.' The Cuban government also claimed he was trying to 'destroy the Revolution through the use of communication systems out of the control of authorities.'"
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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

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  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:38AM (#35489138)
    Of course, Americans are thrown into prison [nytimes.com] for allowing people to see foreign satellite channels, but let's not discuss that. Let's have the NASDAQ listed US Geeknet corporation news website Slashdot bash Cuba. Of course, USAID and the CIA have been trying to foment revolution in Cuba for a long time, and the US government has supported the terrorist groups that have been bombing hotels in Cuba. Meanwhile, the US tortures prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, a military base Cuba has asked leave Cuba but the US in its imperialist hubris refuses. Terrorists who bomb civilian airlines like Luis Posada Carilles walk the streets of the US freely, with his only legal problems being minor asylum discrepancies.

    Also, how many cable stations in the US is English Al-Jazeera on? Talk about a corporate/government lockdown. Al-Jazeera is banned from the New York Stock Exchange floor as well for whatever reason.

    What rank hypocrisy. Five Cubans [freethefive.org] who were concerned with terrorists like Carilles are locked in US jails right now. I'm sure Cuba would be perfectly willing to do a prisoner exchange. The US should free its political and free spech prisoners and stop supporting terrorists like Carilles before its corporations like Geeknet/Slashdot complain about Cuba. How is this USAID spy a spy who should be free, but the Cuban Five should be in prison. Just the arrogant imperial hubris of the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:11AM (#35489232)

    Cuba will give you a tourist visa. Go to Canada or Mexico, get a visa and then go. It will not even stamp your passport as not to get you in trouble.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:25AM (#35489276)

    "Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?"

    I can.
    Phil Zimmerman (Pretty Good Privacy) was investigated for 3 years because the US Government regarded cryptographic software as a munition, subject to arms trafficking export controls.

    And he wasn't even funded by the Soviets or anybody else.

  • by Ol Biscuitbarrel ( 1859702 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:54AM (#35489384)

    So Cuba has oil?

    Sure, 120 million barrels proved reserves at the moment and 51k barrels/day production; estimates of their offshore resources are much higher. CNN: How oil could bring Cuba and the U.S. back together - May. 25, 2010 [cnn.com]. That might provide a convenient casus belli, or lead to greater cooperation. Or maybe things will just waffle along the way they have for the last 50 years.

  • by Kilobug ( 213978 ) <.le-mig_g. .at. .epita.fr.> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:09AM (#35489452)

    It's not "providing internet access to anyone". That would just require the US to lift the blockade. It's "providing internet access to those who oppose the government". Which is indeed corruption : you oppose the government, you receive goods that other people can't buy (because of the blockade).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:15AM (#35489484)

    If that was really the case, why wouldn't the USA just stop the blockade ?

    That's a common misconception. The US doesn't have a blockade against Cuba, but an embargo. A blockade would involve the interdiction of Cuba's trade, or other involvement, with other countries around the world (including, in the past, with its Soviet allies). An embargo restricts Americans from trade, or other involvement, with Cuba. Granted, America would be a very conveniently located and generally advantageous trading partner for the Cubans, but they nevertheless are free to interact, and they do, with other countries around the world (subject of course to any similar embargoes imposed by other countries on their own citizens). This is why Cuba has a significant (though perhaps not great) amount of trade with various EU countries, China, Venezuala, etc.

    In my opinion, the previous poster is generally correct about this point. Though the embargo certainly is not helping the Cubans, it does not explain their general social or political predicament. A good reason for ending the policy, in fact, is precisely that it does serve as an excuse for the communists running Cuba.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:52AM (#35489636)

    And it has several very positive aspects.

    Yeah, the government death-squads have had a lot of practice, so the victims usually only suffer a single shot. /sarc

    You, sir, are an idiot. A "useful idiot", to be precise. I've spent time there. It's a hellhole outside of certain areas the Cuban government uses for propaganda purposes. Death squads are a fact of everyday life. People "go missing" in the night, never to be seen or heard from again.

    Nobody trusts anyone, as the authorities enthusiastically "encourage" people to report on their neighbors/friends/family. Corruption and outright thievery are rampant. Extreme poverty is the norm. Torture and executions are commonplace.

    Despite propaganda to the contrary, healthcare is all but non-existent, and what little there is typically takes many average month's-work's-salary-worth of bribes to even have a shot at any of it.

    Before you figuratively open your mouth about living conditions in revolutionary Cuba again and make yourself out to be an even bigger fool than Michael Moore, I strongly suggest you at least go down to southern Florida and talk to some Cuban ex-pats/survivors.

    The Cuban government is a cruel and iron-fisted despotic regime replete with all the horrors such regimes have always inflicted upon their victim-citizens. Anyone claiming otherwise is either a "useful idiot" or a complicit propagandist. I'll let you pick which category you belong in.

    I swear, some people's clueless kids...

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:16AM (#35490296)

    Cuba has been impoverished by US embargoes on trade. The US doesn't only restrict their own trade with Cuba, they bully other countries to do likewise. It's been going on for decades.

  • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:20AM (#35490348)
    Hush! America is a faith based country, where people decide what they want to believe and then go looking for evidence that supports it, they don't wish to be confronted by contrary evidence.
  • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:21AM (#35490354) Homepage

    No, he's saying that receiving internet access is a form of payment for doing corrupt things. Just like receiving bags full of money, fancy cars, or bricks of cocaine.

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