Innovation and ingenuity in Cuba: Apartheid Castro dictatorship develops new methods of repression against activists

For nearly six decades, Cuba’s apartheid Castro dictatorship has proven itself an utter failure. After taking complete control of every aspect of society and the economy, the Cuban regime has failed in everything. Healthcare is fourth-world; they cannot grow enough food to feed themselves; the economy cannot survive without a foreign benefactor; education is dismal; birthrates are down; the elderly live in squalor; buildings are crumbling; and public transportation is still in the 19th century.

Nevertheless, the Castro dictatorship is not a failure at everything it does. There is one thing they are particularly good at: repression. It is a skill they have been honing now for more than a half century. While innovation and ingenuity are foreign terms to the Cuban dictatorship when it comes to the economy and civil society, they are constantly innovating and coming up with ingenious new methods of repression.

Nora Gamez Torres in The Miami Herald:

Havana is using new methods to crack down on activists

While the new U.S. president’s policies on Cuba remain uncertain, the government in Havana appears to be more nervous about its domestic opposition than usual, as the island heads into a complicated political transition.

Authorities have expelled students from universities, arrested dissidents who want to run in the next elections and forced others into exile. The phones of dissidents and human rights activists also are tapped, making communication with journalists abroad difficult — all part of a campaign to crush criticism at a crucial time.

“There is a campaign of annihilation in 2017,” said Eliécer Ávila, a young Havana engineer who founded Somos +. He was reached by phone after several failed calls by el Nuevo Herald.

A member of his organization, Karla María Pérez González, was expelled from a university journalism program last month. Ávila, who wants to run in the next municipal elections, said a police raid of his home seized almost everything he owned.

“In my house the police were like a moving company. I don’t even have a computer, and I have a borrowed cell. All this limits your ability to communicate, to exist in politics,” Ávila said.

He said the crackdown is part of an attempt to “clear the field for Feb. 24, to eliminate the voices that can undermine the official line.”

Cuban ruler Raúl Castro is expected to retire around that date, which will mark the start of the next legislative session.

That’s why the government “is so deeply afraid,” said attorney Laritza Diversent, director of Cubalex, which offers independent legal advice and has proposed several reforms to the electoral system. Cubalex is not recognized by the government.

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