WaPo: Cubans are losing their fear of Castro regime
Cubans are losing their fear of Castro regime
WHEN YOANI Sánchez talks about “alternative means of communication” in Cuba, she speaks with authority. Her blog Generación Y has become a beacon of democracy and freedom on the island, where the news media are still held in the tight grip of the Castro regime. Producing a blog hasn’t been easy; Internet access is spotty. But she reports that alternate networks are throbbing with information that the government wants to suppress.
When the dissident Oswaldo Payá and activist Harold Cepero were killed in a car wreck in Cuba’s eastern province of Granma on July 22, Cubans learned of it through these alternative channels. Ms. Sánchez, visiting Washington this week, told us that Cubans sense that “the government seems to be hiding something” about the Payá and Cepero deaths and there has been a “manipulation of facts.”
The suspicions are well founded. On these pages recently, Ángel Carromero, a Spanish politician, said that the car he was driving and in which Mr. Payá and Mr. Cepero were riding was hit from behind by a vehicle with Cuban government plates and that he was threatened and intimidated by the authorities in an attempted coverup. Ms. Sánchez said that an independent, international investigation should be carried out as soon as possible, before the government manages to erase every last bit of evidence. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has just written to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, asking him to appoint a panel for such a probe, saying that Mr. Payá’s family, the Cuban people and the international community “all deserve to have the truth.”
Truth is not a currency well respected by Fidel and Raul Castro. Ten years ago this month, they launched a crackdown known as the “Black Spring,” in which 75 dissidents, independent journalists and human rights activists were imprisoned. The authorities also crushed the Varela Project, Mr. Payá’s 2002 petition drive for guarantees of freedom; many of his colleagues were jailed. But Mr. Payá was not imprisoned.
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