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Posted April 08, 2003 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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By Sandra Bowden, mayor of Vero Beach and Craig Fletcher, council member

Proving that it is every bit as dreadful as its critics say it is, the Castro regime has used the world’s preoccupation with Iraq as an opportunity to crack down on political dissidents.

The first trials of 80 human-rights activists and journalists began Thursday, with the defendants facing sentences of 20 years to life for the crime of openly expressing their views on democracy and due process.

The U.S. State Department denounced the proceedings, closed to outsiders, as a “kangaroo court.” Is there any other kind in Cuba?

The crackdown ended several years of what passes for tolerance in Cuba and gave pause to a growing U.S. movement favoring an end to four decades of sanctions.

Many of the detainees are associated with the Varela Project, a petition drive whose courageous signers sought democratic elections and basic human rights.

In response to the alarming possibility that Cuba might one day be free, the government quickly passed a law ordaining that the country would be forever socialist, proving that Castro’s is an insecure regime with much to be insecure about.

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