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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 Bobakitoo ( 1814374 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:23AM (#35489080)
    No, a revolution is a one full turn. It bring new authorities in control.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:27AM (#35489094)

    If you know the history of Latin America you remember the role of USA agencies (including USAID) in putting military puppet regimes in power. USA agencies in Latin America is not as innocent as some may think. Sadly.

  • stupid americans (Score:2, Insightful)

    by petur ( 1833384 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:30AM (#35489104) Homepage
    Stop trying to be hero's by trying to rebuild countries after destroying them with wars or business blocks.
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:32AM (#35489108) Journal

    Probably not, no. It's not terribly surprising that this guy was arrested and imprisoned, though - I mean, he was actually being funded by the US to try and undermine the Cuban government. 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?

    Remember that the US has a history of attempting assassination attempts against Fidel Castro and has organized (badly) at least one attempt to violently overthrow the government - and they're not exactly doing it out of a desire to spread freedom and democracy... Also remember that the previous US-supported dictator was pretty horrid and screwed over basically the entire Cuban population in favour of the US interests that owned most of Cuba.

  • Re:Bradley Manning (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darojasp ( 910720 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:35AM (#35489128) Homepage Journal
    I find funny that the US demands this guy to be released. By principle, if this guy is released so should be Manning
  • Not news. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @05:41AM (#35489152)

    Regimes that have, ideologically, started out as Communist revolutions, like to refer themselves as "revolutionary," much like the West uses the word "democratic": "that is us, never mind the word's meaning or our actions". So, yes, it is possible to have a reactionary Revolution, or a fascist Democracy; note the capitalization.

  • by dugeen ( 1224138 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:03AM (#35489212) Journal
    Doubtless the Cubans are merely following the shining example of the kangaroo courts that try 'terrorist' inmates in the concentration camp at Guantanamo. I can't quite recall which democratic power operates that camp though, perhaps it will come back to me...
  • So, what ? A man employed by an hostile foreign power (a power imposing to a country an illegal blockade since 50 years, and sponsoring terrorism against that country) is arrested because he, secretly and without any permission, is corrupting local persons into subverting the local government. He would be arrested in any country for that.

    As for USAID, it's a not a charity, it's a CIA cover entity since long.

    If USA were really interested into spreading Internet in Cuba, they would lift the blockade restrictions that forbid Cuba to connecting to the trans-atlantic cable that runs not so long from it. If they were really interested into spreading Internet in Cuba, they would allow Cuba to purchase computers.

    But no. They don't want to spread Internet in Cuba. They want to reward the few cubans (and the wikileaks are clear that even the SINA (US "embassy" in Cuba) acknowledge the "opposition" in Cuba is very small and unpopular there) who betray their own country to support the agenda of the nearby imperialist power. That's it. It's plain corruption.

    Cuba system is not perfect. It has many flaws. It also have many positive things. We should encourage them to keep what's good and change what is not. But it's not by sending cover agents to corrupt people to oppose their government that it'll happen. And the cover agent who tried to do that is not a freedom-fighter.

    And I can understand Cuba being strict with those cover agents, when you see that the Cuban Five were sentenced to much harder penalty, while they weren't at all opposing the US government, but only infiltrating the Miami-based terror groups.

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:42AM (#35489330)
    after destroying them

    The only people who have destroyed Cuba is the totalitarian communist family that runs it and who jail or kill people for trying to lead a free life or leave the island.
  • by Kilobug ( 213978 ) < minus threevowels> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:43AM (#35489332)

    Dictatorship of the Proletariat is one of the most widely misunderstood expression, used a few times by Marx (and it was a very clumsy wording from him, indeed). What Marx meant by it is a strong government *in the hands of the working class* able to realize fast and profound changes in the society. He didn't mean by it a Stalin-like totalitarian state. He was even clear that for him, "dictatorship of the proletariat", was something like Paris' Commune. Which was the most democratic form of government that existed in modern history in France. In which elected representative could be recalled at any time at the demand of the basis. Which abolished death penalty, and gave right to vote to women, as early as 1870. Even the "army" of the Commune (the National Guard) was democratic, with the officers elected by the guards.

    As for the Cuban government, it's not perfect, but it's not a "dictatorship" under the common meaning of the word nowadays. People aren't arrested there for just disagreeing. There is no torture. People aren't kept in jail without trial. There are elections, and if we can discuss their fairness and the weird system they use, it's not the case only in Cuba (hint, 2000 election in the USA). There is no forced labor camps. Police don't open fire on protests.

    If you compare Cuba to its neighbors, it has much less human rights violations than for example in Mexico, Peru, Colombia or Chile (which are US allies and recognized as "democracies"). And it has several very positive aspects. One of the best healthcare system of the world (with the same life expectancy as USA despite the blockade, and a lower child death rate), one of the best educative system of the world (lower illiteracy and higher university enrollment rate than in USA).

    Cuba isn't perfect, and we should criticize what is broken in the cuban system. But Cuba is not a "tropical gulag", it's not the hell of a country that the mass media tell us it is. Considering its history and the hostility of a nearby superpower, it's quite impressive they managed to get all the good things they have, without much more bad things. Especially when you compare with so many other countries of Latin America.

  • by NoSig ( 1919688 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @06:59AM (#35489404)
    Yet internet access is grounds for 15 year sentences?
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:03AM (#35489424) Journal
    The problem with communism (Marx/Engels version) is that violent revolution is part of the Communist Manifesto's implementation plan for Communism (read it if you don't believe me).

    In most violent revolutions the person willing and capable of exerting the most violence ends up at the top. Most such people do not give up their power once at the top.

    That's why communist (and other violent) revolutions tend to end up as dictatorships.

    Only a few cases (e.g. the American Revolution) are the exceptions. I'm no expert but I think the American Revolution was quite different when compared to most "communist revolutions". Seems to me that much of each state's structure was maintained rather than overthrown.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:25AM (#35489522)

    Yup. Just ask McKinnon. Or Bradley Manning. Or the people in GITMO.

  • by ifiwereasculptor ( 1870574 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:45AM (#35489606)
    Repeat after me: "RTFA! RTFA! RTFA!"

    An American working for a covert U.S. program in Cuba was sentenced Saturday to 15 years in prison...

    Alan Gross, 61, worked as a contractor for a USAID program that secretly provided technology like computers and communications equipment to encourage democratic reforms...

    ...says the Cuban government may now use Mr. Gross as a bargaining chip to gain the release of five accused Cuban spies who were convicted in 2005 of espionage in the U.S.

    So, as usual, the summary is misleading. It should say "US and Cuba continue with their old feud... and the words "computer" and "internet" were mentioned on the article somewhere, so it belongs in Slashdot".

  • by LordNacho ( 1909280 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @07:55AM (#35489644)

    OT, but I always wondered WTF the Jedis were thinking when they came across Anakin. Surely if he's the one meant to bring balance to the force, and the good guys are in total power (the Sith were hiding), that means he'll help the bad guys? (Not a big SW buff though, only saw the films.)

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @08:36AM (#35489886) Journal
    In a few US states, convicted felons even after serving out their time no longer have a right to vote.
  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:08AM (#35490192)

    I've not been but I know people that have worked there. Their story is very different from yours. I trust their opinion, and suspect you are full of shit, AC. The clues are there that you are simply a right wing idiot voicing your prejudice.

  • by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:34AM (#35490514)

    It wasn't just the Jedi that were wrong. Both sides thought that their way was the exclusive and only way to deal with the Force, and really each side only understood an aspect of the force. Like old parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant, both the Jedi and the Sith of the Old Republic time were suffering from dogma myopia.

    The Jedi believed that "The Vergence" of the Force would sweep away the last vestiges of the Sith and bring about true peace and the Ultimate Jedi Way. Sort of like a Jedi Buddha. The Sith (Through Darth Sidious) Thought that creating the "Ultimate Force Being" via use of the Sith life creating skill (thus impregnating Shmi Skywalker) would allow them to rule uncontested over the galaxy.

        Anakin's true purpose was to sweep away BOTH of the old Dogmas. First by destroying the massive religious structure the Jedi had built up, and then by destroying the last leader of the Sith religion. Doing this cost him his wife, his friends, nearly his sanity and ultimately his life. (Not to mention millions of other lives throughout the galaxy) But in the process renewed not only the Force through his son Luke, but the entire Republic through his daughter Leia.

    That's my understanding of it anyway. More serious SW fans may disagree though. I'm sure they'll be along to flame me forthwith. ;)

  • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @09:39AM (#35490564)

    It's sad that somebody is able to explain, in just a few sentences, the entire plot of Star Wars much more convincingly and compellingly than Lucas was able to do in six full-length movies.

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:15AM (#35491126) Journal

    there is no other choice between what undergirds the source of the power of your government: either consent, or fear

    The collection of capitalists, crooks, psycopaths and scum that make up most Westen governments rely almost exclusively on fear and propaganda to maintain themselves in power against the true will of the people, or else you wouldn't have billionaire cunts paying minimal taxes and getting away with whatever they want around the world.

  • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:49AM (#35491546)

    Dude you don't need to be convicted of a felony, or even a crime to have your rights revoked. In many states a simple psych eval is all that's needed to deny you your rights (psychology is a pseudo-science with many quacks willing to say whatever gets them paid). Another example is in Ohio where *any* drug conviction even a minor misdemeanor (same as a ticket and technically not a crime) bars your from owning a firearm until and unless you are able to beg your county prosecutor to reinstate your rights.

    This is the sad truth. It wasn't so long ago that when you were released from prison you were given cash for roughly 30-days of living if you stretched it real tight. Likewise, if you were arrested with a firearm, you were returned your firearm and given six or so shells for your weapon. Yes, that's right, felons were re-armed if they were arrested with a firearm. They understood this was essential to allowing them to live. Of course socio-economically times have changed somewhat in that regard, but the point remains, anything else is blatantly illegal and unconstitutional. This is something that was well understood and accepted even less than a hundred years ago.

    The sad truth is, unless there is a Constitutional amendment to revoke the second amendment rights from criminals, all of these laws are unconstitutional. Frequently citing US law, Title 18, Section 922(g) of the US Code, is given as an excuse why felons are not allowed to carry weapons but completely ignores the fact that a law can not usurp the protections provided by the US Constitution and it is specifically mandated only an amendment can do such a thing. So according to the US Constitution and US law, the US and state laws which prevent felons from owning weapons is both unconstitutional and illegal - nonetheless, its enforced.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:18AM (#35491914)

    As far as I can tell, this man did break the law, and whats more was aware that he was breaking it. You can't really complain when you work to bring down a government when that government stops you.
    Much as I love the internet, it really isn't a human right.

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