Torture in Cuba
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Cuba a prison masquerading as a nation
By Ian Robinson
Last Updated: August 2, 2010 2:00am

Hmm.

Looking for a vacation spot. Gotta have sun and sand and beaches. Cheap
would be good.

Let's see. Is there a repressive police state lacking in anything
resembling rule of law as I know it that I could go to? Some place with
a political system endorsed by Hollywood celebrities like self-loathing
American Michael Moore and Jew-baiter Oliver Stone?

For tens of thousands of Canadians every year, Cuba is the answer to
that question.

One of them is a kid from Simcoe, Ont., who, after three months, is
expected to finally be free to leave Cuba Tuesday because he committed
the "crime" of being hit by another driver while behind the wheel.

A cousin and his Cuban fiancee were in the vehicle Cody LeCompte was
driving, and the fiancee was injured but has since recovered. But
because a Cuban citizen was injured in the crash, Cuban law says Cody
couldn't leave unless he proves his innocence.

Cuban law is weird like that. They even have legislation on the books
allowing the government to throw you in prison for "dangerousness." You
don't have to commit an actual crime.

So Cody ran up insane, five-digit hotel bills while he waited for the
wheels of Cuban "justice" to turn.

This is kind of ironic, because the trip was a gift from Cody's mom to
reward him for getting into college.

So much for the old college fund.

Apparently, he faced the prospect of three years in a Cuban jail.

You do not want to spend time in a prison in Cuba.

According to Human Rights Watch, rape is common, with the full
co-operation and connivance of staff. Prisoners in particular disfavour
can expect to be deliberately placed in cells with prisoners with
contagious diseases such as tuberculosis. Broken bones go untreated. Raw
sewage runs along the floors and meals are sometimes as meagre as a cup
of sugared water. Starvation is a weapon used against prisoners as is
long-term solitary confinement. In the dark.

For some reason, the political left has long had a love affair with
thuggish regimes at war with their own people. Young folks who can't
read or think are still wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the face of Che
Guevara, the Cuban doctor turned mass murderer who begged for his life
before Bolivian troops turned out his lights. They don't realize
celebrating Che is like wearing a T-shirt endorsing Heinrich Himmler.

Cuba is a prison masquerading as a nation and we travel there at our own
risk and it is naive to think that just because they love our travel
dollars, they aren't willing to mess us over individually. It's been
reported that the only reason Cody's being sprung at all is because the
Canadian government reminded the Cubans of that fact.

In the interest of full disclosure, a long, long time ago, I took a
Cuban vacation.

My only excuse is that I was young and ignorant and had achieved the
political development of a 10-year-old … which is to say I was still
voting NDP — although in my defence at least it was Ed Broadbent NDP,
not Jack Layton NDP.

I didn't realize that when I spent my money in Cuba, I was signing the
paycheques for the guards who were raping and abusing political
prisoners whose only crime was wanting what I already had … freedom. I
was subsidizing an honest-to-God, old-school police state. I was helping
buy the barbed wire and manacles.

I hope Cody LeCompte gets home safe. I'm thankful he will never see the
inside of one of Cuba's prisons.

And I sincerely hope his story serves as a cautionary tale. If you won't
take Cuba off your destination list because the thought of subsidizing
torture is abhorrent to you, maybe you'll do it because you're too
scared to go there.

ian.robinson@sunmedia.ca

http://www.ottawasun.com/comment/columnists/2010/07/30/14882401.html

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