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Cuba Jails US Worker Handing Out Laptops, Cellphones

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the most-of-us-would-be-guilty-of-that-crime dept.

Censorship 400

eldavojohn writes "An American citizen working as a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development has been arrested for giving away laptops and cellphones in Cuba. The intent was to enable activists to connect with each other and spread information of what's happening inside Cuba. From the article: 'Cellphones and laptops are legal in Cuba, though they are new and coveted commodities in a country where the average worker's wage is $15 a month. The Cuban government granted ordinary citizens the right to buy cellphones just last year; they are used mostly for texting, because a 15-minute phone conversation would eat up a day's wages.' A Representative on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the arrest was 'no surprise' while a human rights watch group cited a report outlining the Cuban Criminal Code offense of 'dangerousness,' which is most likely the one for which this individual was detained. There is at present no way to contact the individual nor official word on why he was detained." The article quotes an actvist with Human Rights Watch who said that "any solution to the contractor's case would probably be political" and that "the Cuban government often provokes a negative reaction in the United States just as [the two] countries begin to move toward more dialogue."

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Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437890)

How is this news? Big fat DUH factor here that this would happen. It's CUBA for crying out loud!!!

Re:Communism (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437972)

You are forgetting - they had a revolution for the PEOPLE. All the poor people in Cuba benefited. It's a fine thing that Jimmy Carter went to visit there too (without the permission of the US government?)

Re:Communism (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438110)

"Revolution for the people" is irrelevant. Single party systems inevitably lead to human rights abuse.
The message that such concentrated power is for the benefit of "the people" is pure propaganda.

Re:Communism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438396)

Yep. Like barack obama and the democratic majority.

Re:Communism (4, Insightful)

zblack_eagle (971870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438442)

Theirs is not the only system that needs replacing/overhaul. Dual party systems also lead to human rights abuse.
The message that a two party system is a "democracy" (or "republic" if you want to ride the irrelevant semantics bandwagon) is pure propaganda.

Re:Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438498)

"Revolution for the people" is irrelevant. Single party systems inevitably lead to human rights abuse.
The message that such concentrated power is for the benefit of "the people" is pure propaganda.

It wouldn't take that many bombs to sink that island.

Re:Communism (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438170)

The government of Cuba is evil.

In other news, water is wet and fire is hot.

Re:Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438536)

woah, fire is hot? when did that happen?!

Re:Communism (5, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438364)

In ANY democratic country an agent of a foreign power financing political groups would be declared persona non grata and kicked out. Apparently Cuba can't do it because then they are dangerous communists that eat children for breakfast.

Remove the absurd and illegal embargo you have on Cuba and then let's all talk about democracy. No country can be democratic with another country's boot crushing it. And we're talking about the USA, it's a HUUUUGE motherfucking boot.

Re:Communism (5, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438562)

In ANY democratic country an agent of a foreign power financing political groups would be declared persona non grata and kicked out.

Ah yes. In that case, it should be no problem for you to point to a case where an individual was jailed in, say, the United States, for handing out free stuff to political groups.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Oh, and while you're trying to think of a way to back-pedal out of this one, you should probably stop and think about just how despicable you look to every person who actually gives a damn about human rights. You're offering excuses on behalf of an oppressive dictatorship, just so you can squeeze in a cheap shot at nations which guarantee you freedoms that Cubans can only dream about. I don't know how you live with yourself.

Can't be true (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30437920)

Michael Moore told us Cuba should be a model for the US. I guess he meant "free" health care comes at the cost of only having $15 dollars in your paycheck at the end of the day.

Re:Can't be true (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437980)

Canada, France, and Britain are also models. Are their standards of living good enough? Moore was showcasing Cuba in a more sarcastic way "Even these guys have it!"

Though communism is evil I agree.

Re:Can't be true (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438166)

Has Canada health care expense dropped from 2nd place in cost?

The USA was number one in cost followed next by Canada about 10 to 20 years ago. In a report I did in school about 10 years ago. I recommended using the Germany health care system as I thought it would best be able adjust to the American Capitalistic System.
But, since the USA is slowly changing from a Capitalistic System to Fascist System; maybe, it is even more proper to adopt the German system.

Tim S.

Re:Can't be true (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438044)

MONTH .. that's 15 bucks a MONTH .. not day ..

Re:Can't be true (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438236)

Your point is what? That liberals say stupid things? Anne Coulter said several widows whose husbands died in the 9/11 attacks were "witches" who "act as if 9/11 only happened to them" and implied they were happy to have been victimized. If we start acting as if pundits speak for anything more than themselves, we should just speed things up and start flinging our poo at each other right now.

(By the way, my purpose here isn't to equate Michael Moore to Anne Coulter, I think they're different in many ways, but neither of them have any place in rational discussions)

Re:Can't be true (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438624)

Anne Coulter said several widows whose husbands died in the 9/11 attacks were "witches" who "act as if 9/11 only happened to them" and implied they were happy to have been victimized.

You know, Anne Coulter says a lot of stupid shit, but on that one topic I have to agree with her. The women she was referencing are absolutely horrid. They're the equivalent of Cindy Sheehan - pumping out public displays of "grief" in order to pursue their own political agenda. I'd offer my commiseration and sympathy to any person who lost a loved one on 9/11 (or in the GWOT) ... but when you start using your loss as a political weapons, you make yourself fair game. If you're willing to profane the memory of your loved ones by making them martyrs for your cause, then I'm sorry but all bets are off.

Oops (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437940)

There is at present no way to contact the individual nor official word on why he was detained.

He should have kept one of the phones or laptops for himself.

Oops.

Re:Oops (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438650)

Hiding a laptop in your ass is a rather difficult proposition. Maybe if they'd sent the goatse.cx guy ....

Embargo fails. (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437960)

This highlights exactly why the US embargo fails. Had it been lifted many years ago, perhaps Cubans would have already overthrown their dictatorship and established a free way of life. But instead the US insists on keeping a broken embargo in place that, if removed long ago, could have paved the way for Cubans to own cell phones and laptops long before this.

Re:Embargo fails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438022)

But instead the US insists on keeping a broken embargo in place that, if removed long ago, could have paved the way for Cubans to own cell phones and laptops long before this.

...so that they can be seized for analysis at US border checkpoints.

Hey, if the Cubans weren't doing anything wrong, they shouldn't have anything to fear. And if the US activist wasn't doing anything wrong by Cuban law, he'd have stayed outa jail. As the anti-privacy crowd is so fond of saying, laws are laws, right? :)

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438046)

I am sure the American view of a free way of life means a corporate monopoly on the tourism industry, corporate corruption of the politicians to serve their needs, the creation of class inequality, and "servant" status for the natives like in most of the tropical destinations Americans go to. That's a pretty shitty freedom you're offering.

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438440)

Hey - Maybe if they were really lucky, they could have turned out like Haiti.

Re:Embargo fails. (2, Interesting)

SEE (7681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438772)

I am sure the American view of a free way of life means a corporate monopoly on the tourism industry, corporate corruption of the politicians to serve their needs, the creation of class inequality, and "servant" status for the natives like in most of the tropical destinations Americans go to.

Because the Cuban governmental monopoly on the tourism industry, corrupt politicians enriching themselves at the direct expense of the people, vast inequality between the nomenklatura and ordinary peasants, and forced labor in the sugarcane fields for schoolchildren is so much better. ....

In two cases, a one-party dictatorship took control of an island with a history of colonial exploitation and an agriculture-based economy. It happens that both islands are at about the same latitude, and both are subject to tropical cyclones. In both cases, the island was off the coast of a country ideologically hostile to it, which imposed a thorough embargo on its goods. In both cases the island received support from a superpower for three decades, which then was seriously reduced.

Socialism has left one poor, and it has no imminent prospects of democratization. Capitalism has made the other one wealthy, and it completed a full transition to multi-party democracy thirteen years ago.

Re:Embargo fails. (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438052)

Had it been lifted many years ago, perhaps Cubans would have already overthrown their dictatorship and established a free way of life.

Yeah, just like the Chinese have.

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438124)

The Chinese though have a much higher standard of living than Cuba. China also is pretty self-sufficient for all intents and purposes. Cuba though is very close to the US and is a tiny island where people are dirt poor. Because of this people are more apt to flee Cuba for a different country, than flee China for a different country. Plus, China is very spread out population-wise making organized demonstrations hard. Cuba is a tiny island where even on foot it wouldn't take too long to get many places.

Re:Embargo fails. (4, Informative)

dnwq (910646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438196)

Purchasing power per person, 2008 [wikipedia.org] :

Cuba: $9500

People's Republic of China: $6000

So, the average Cuban is still richer than the average Chinese. In ten years it might be different, though. But all this is irrelevant to the parent's point: dropping an embargo doesn't necessarily lead to political liberalization, even if the people do become better off. You can be very rich and [wikipedia.org] still [wikipedia.org] dictatorial [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438860)

I'd be curious to see where the two countries started out at. Take the GDP(PPP) in today's USD from 1950 and see how much either has grown/shrunk. I wouldn't be surprised if China grew by an order of magnitude or more while Cuba fell a few thousand bucks.

According to this file [usda.gov] (warning: Excel spreadsheet), Cuba's GDP in 1969 (in billions of 2005 USD) was $15.61; China's was $101.83. In 2009, Cuba's had grown to $43.12, while China's exploded to $3338.56. During that period, Cuba's average annual growth rate was 2.7%; China's was 9.2%.

I can't find a similar table with population data from the same years, but just using this information it's clear that China has done a much better job of providing economic opportunity to their people than the Cubans have.

Re:Embargo fails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438282)

Your assertion is false. The Per capita GDP of Cuba is nearly twice that of the People's Republic of China.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438410)

Surely GDP per capita doesn't tell you in itself what a typical person's income is, let alone what their standard of living is? It'll give you the mean but the median is probably more interesting, or the mean of working-class people's income, perhaps.

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438132)

They seem to have at least made more progress.

Re:Embargo fails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438456)

I was in China in early 2001 and cell phones were everywhere I looked. And that was almost 9 years ago.

Re:Embargo fails. (3, Insightful)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438086)

I really did not know that the USA was the only country in the world that makes cell phones. Since there is nothing to stop an NON-USA country from trading with Cuba.

Tim S.

Re:Embargo fails. (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438474)

The US does extend their reach on export control. If you want to sell technology to the US you have to agree not to sell to countries they embargo.

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438706)

Really? Got any references to back that up?

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438158)

...perhaps Cubans would have already overthrown their dictatorship and established a free way of life.

...and perhaps the Cuban government would've used that incoming tech to have far more efficient means and methods of keeping their citizens oppressed.

That sword cuts both ways. Maybe you may not want to use it to make a political statement?

TBH, I doubt that technology would've helped the people much - by simple dint of "priority" being given to the government and military, and everyone else being frozen out. After all, the only thing keeping cell phones out of North Korea (IIRC) is the North Korean government denying the possession of one to any person who isn't a government official or high-ranking military member. Many anti-NoKo organizations actually go out of their way to smuggle satellite-capable phones (and similar) into the country. Fact is, most North Koreans are too damned imporverished to be secure in getting their next meal, let alone a good cell signal. I'm thinking that most ordinary Cubans aren't (in a socioeconomic sense) too far above that point.

Re:Embargo fails. (2, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438466)

"I'm thinking that most ordinary Cubans aren't (in a socioeconomic sense) too far above that point."

Yeah, it'd be nice if they had some rich country many times larger than them nearby to trade freely with. I imagine that within a few decades their standard of living will double or triple.

Re:Embargo fails. (1)

MrPloppy (1117689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438210)

Uh oh here we go four legs bad two legs good.

Re:Embargo fails. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438434)

Yeah! Because Cuba can't buy anything from Canada right?

Oh, wait...

They're a bunch of bloody handed killers. Get over it.

There's a reason the commies use red for their flag you know. Its for the blood they spill from their victims/citizens.

Liberte! Liberte! (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30437988)

Chi Chi! Get the yayo!

Malware? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438068)

Free laptops and cellphones huh? Any malware/spyware installed on those?

I wouldn't trust it unless I could wipe it.

good for them! (2, Interesting)

justdrew (706141) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438092)

just like the US would were some foreign government trying to overthrow our government.

Normalize with these animals? (-1, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438098)

It is instructive to note how many useful idiots keep calling to normalize relations with the sort of barbarians that lock people up for passing out cell phones.

Normalize travel and trade with these animals? Really?

Seriously, would YOU travel into such a hellhole? Do business as usual with such a morally bankrupt regime and expect them to honor contracts like civilized people?

Re:Normalize with these animals? (4, Insightful)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438254)

Well, we do business with China and Saudi Arabia. Just Saying....

Re:Normalize with these animals? (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438342)

Well, we do business with China and Saudi Arabia. Just Saying....

Well the US has to do trade with China - especially given how much US debt they own. <conspiracy>And as for the Saudi's its just another regime to get in bed with in order smooth over US interests in the ME</conspiracy>

Re:Normalize with these animals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438472)

There's no conspiracy. The US is quite happy to support a dictatoral monarchy in Saudi Arabia in return for military bases and the steady sale of oil in US currency. That the majority of 9/11 hijackers came from there is irrelevant to their interests.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (3, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438362)

> Well, we do business with China and Saudi Arabia. Just Saying....

Yea. Which is why I'd like to see us get off the imported oil habit to the point we could tell the House of Saud to pound sand.

And some of us objected to MFN status for China based on their horrid human rights record. Too bad the 'progressives' formed an unholy alliance with the big transnational corporate interests on that issue.... But no we probably can't just treat China as the total pariah they would be in a more perfect world. People who say size doesn't matter are just deluding themselves.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438600)

And some of us objected to MFN status for China based on their horrid human rights record. Too bad the 'progressives' formed an unholy alliance with the big transnational corporate interests on that issue....

Nice unsubstantiated attack there... Clinton, who signed the MFN with China is no progressive (he's a corporate-backed Dem, just like his wife). I didn't see many progressives saying MFN with China was good, if you have evidence, I'd like to see it.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438300)

"Animals?" Come on now, if Taliban agents were caught handing out darknet cellphones and laptops through a mosque in NYC, you just know the same thing would happen. Heck, we recently arrested some midde-east looking people just for taking home videos at Disneyland.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (4, Insightful)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438322)

It is instructive to note how many useful idiots keep calling to normalize relations with the sort of barbarians that lock people up for passing out cell phones.

Normalize travel and trade with these animals? Really?

Seriously, would YOU travel into such a hellhole? Do business as usual with such a morally bankrupt regime and expect them to honor contracts like civilized people?

Yes, really. Why? Because you nominally care about the vast majority of normal people who live there. You may disagree with the ruling class, but that doesn't necessarily justify an embargo.

Also, let's keep in mind that these people locked up someone who was effectively an agitator. Or is sedition only bad when it's being done against the US standards? The Cubans locked up a man who was disruptive to their country's stability, like it or not. And again, if the embargo wasn't in place, the sheer contact between the normal citizens of each culture would have done a lot to educate both sides. People learn from contact. Leaving a country in isolation does nothing for them.

Depose or do not depose. Those are the two reasonable courses of action. The embargo at this point is nothing but pride.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438414)

You can kill Americans all you like but by god don't you f@#k with their money! Just try and nationalize those assets that corporations stole from the people of your country and watch out!

Re:Normalize with these animals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438486)

Or is sedition only bad when it's being done against the US standards?

No, freedom of speech isn't merely a civil right; it's a basic human right.
There is no such thing as sedition.

This is an easy way to sabotage any attempt at normalizing relations.
Since the Cuban powers that be always pull this crap, you would think the US would catch on that the dictatorship wants the embargo to continue.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (2, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438510)

He's not only an agitator, he's an employee of a known CIA front company, Development Alternatives Inc, which worked in Venezuela on the failed coup. Last year Congress designated $40 million to "promote transition to democracy", i.e. provoke dissension, and DAI was the prime recipient of that money. Afraid that I can't feel very sorry for someone who knowingly attempts to rile people up so that they can get shot down in front of cameras.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (1)

glowworm (880177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438366)

As opposed to barbarians who lock up and torture people in Guantanamo and CIA prisons for years without trial for doing the same thing in other countries? mhmm.

What did they expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438464)

I wonder exactly how people would react if an Extreemist Muslim cleric was handing out anonymous cellphones to
'activists' within the US... Attempting to undermine the controling power is never going to get a positive reaction.

India has just had a big clampdown on such phones due to the Mumbai bombings (big misreaction IMHO).

Not of course that I support either action, all are IMHO bad things, but giving these things out in Cuda is definately
asking for trouble, just as the opposite would be in the US.

Thank god I am not in either place.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438470)

People in this country were arrested and detained for the possession of cell phones during the previous two administrations. (Bush , Clinton)

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Dissent/Crackdown_Dissent.html

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/aug2000/phil-a08.shtml

Re:Normalize with these animals? (3, Insightful)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438506)

Yeah, it's not like the US imprisons people for years without charge ignoring their human rights under the Geneva convention for political reasons (in Cuba no less).

Re:Normalize with these animals? (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438550)

A lot of Canadian companies do business with Cuba and seem to be quite successful. As for morally bankrupt, seems tons of western corporations have no problems exploiting third world civilians for cheap labor. China anyone?

If you don't start somewhere you'll never get to see what changes you could bring.

Re:Normalize with these animals? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438674)

What the heck are you talking about? Michael Moore says Cuba is a sterling example of how we should be.

        Brett

Re:Normalize with these animals? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438762)

Well, what did that person do from the perspective of the Cuban government? He was supporting people and organisations that tried to undermine and destabilize the government.

The US ship people that try the same to theirs to Cuba too...

Before you say that's something different, he's not a terrorist, he's just trying to bring these people freedom: He tried to give these people the means to achive a system he deems superior and more desirable. It is the same.

Why am I not surprised? (2, Interesting)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438112)

From the mentioned report on Cuba:

"Raul Castro's government has relied in particular on a provision of the Cuban Criminal Code that allows the state to imprison individuals before they have committed a crime, on the suspicion that they might commit and offense in the future. This "dangerousness" provision is overtly political, defining "dangerousness" as any behavior that contradicts socialist norms. The most Orwellian of Cuba's laws, it captures the essence of the Cuban government's repressive mindset, which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a potential thread, and thus worthy of punishment."

Reading this, it's no wonder to me that I walked out on the movie Minority Report about 10 minutes in, because it's exactly like that. My sympathies to the poor bastard and his family, they'll probably never see him alive ever again.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438160)

You missed the happy ending, where it all falls apart.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438266)

Where's Raul going to send these people? Guantanamo?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (4, Insightful)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438316)

walked out on the movie Minority Report about 10 minutes in

You actively don't watch movies that tackle issues you disagree with? That is a very very close minded attitude.

P.S. had you stayed for the remainder of movie you would have seen that the movie was a warning against such a law. That's ironically akin to not reading Animal Farm because you dislike communism.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438338)

Wait, you walked out on a MOVIE that explored the concept of pre-crime as a moral dilemma 10 minutes into it? I don't get it. Are you only able to watch happy romantic comedies, and early adam sandler movies?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438348)

which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a potential thread

*gasp* They're not going to sew him, are they?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

Anonymouss Cowherd (1644553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438840)

which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a potential thread

*gasp* They're not going to sew him, are they?

No, they're going to stitch him up.

Re:Why am I not surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438388)

So, this "dangerousness" is rather like "terrorism"?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438770)

"Raul Castro's government has relied in particular on a provision of the Cuban Criminal Code that allows the state to imprison individuals before they have committed a crime, on the suspicion that they might commit and offense in the future.

Reading this, it's no wonder to me that I walked out on the movie Minority Report about 10 minutes in, because it's exactly like that. My sympathies to the poor bastard and his family, they'll probably never see him alive ever again.

So you walked out on a political movie because it proposed the exact same point of view that you already agreed with?

Re:Why am I not surprised? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438810)

The most Orwellian of Cuba's laws, it captures the essence of the Cuban government's repressive mindset, which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a potential threat, and thus worthy of punishment.

Wait a few years and we'll have that kind of laws as well.

Was he planning on being imprisoned? (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438134)

Seems to me he was, so he's either playing dumb, or actually dumb.
People that don't want to get bitten don't go around pulling cat's tails.

Look on the bright side (0, Troll)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438156)

His health care while in prison will be better than that he would have in the US and is free.

That won't teach the US (2, Insightful)

yuri82 (236251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438198)

...to keep its nose of other people's business. The US government's "freedom" fighters can't wait to destroy Cuba. What right does the US have to be there trying to create chaos?

Re:That won't teach the US (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438844)

The same they have to create havoc in Afghanistan and Iraq: Everyone on the planet wants to be free like an American. Everyone knows that.

Dual Standards (2, Insightful)

glowworm (880177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438224)

So here he was, an American in a foreign country who was providing material means for people to rebel, overthrow, dissent, terrorise their legal government. One does wonder what would happen if an Iranian or Iraqi came into America and provided material means for people to rebel, overthrow, dissent terrorise the American government? Maybe a book on how to achieve things? Would said Iranian or Iraqi have been imprisoned under American laws? Maybe even sent to a place where torture was the norm like Guantanamo or one of the secret CIA prison camps on European soil?

Re:Dual Standards (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438426)

Well, yes and no. While completely agreeing with the "What did you think would happen if you did that?" part, I think that whether or not the Cuban government is a legal government could be debated. It took power at the point of a gun from the former government and has never held a free election. To add murkiness, the previous government was also certainly not legal, having taken power in a military coup in 1952 after years of peaceful and democratic elections in Cuba. Unless and until free and open elections are held in Cuba, whatever government has power there is merely a de facto government, not a legal one.

Re:Dual Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438560)

Not a legal one... under whose laws?

Re:Dual Standards (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438792)

Well, yes and no. While completely agreeing with the "What did you think would happen if you did that?" part, I think that whether or not the United States government is a legal government could be debated. It took power at the point of a sword from the former government and has never held a church sanctified coronation. To add murkiness, the previous government was also certainly not legal, having taken power by force from the native inhabitants. Unless and until a church sanctified coronation is held in Cuba, whatever government has power there is merely a de facto government, not a legal one.

Re:Dual Standards (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438572)

Yes, but that's different. This is 'Mur'ka. We're . . . uh . . . right! Yeah.

Re:Dual Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438724)

So here he was, an American in a foreign country who was providing material means for people to rebel, overthrow, dissent, terrorise their legal government.

He was only handing out cellphones and laptops to encourage communication. None of the above is true. It's pretty much the opposite of true.

Pitiful attempt at moral equivilence (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438728)

> One does wonder what would happen if an Iranian or Iraqi came into America and provided material means for
> people to rebel, overthrow, dissent terrorise the American government?

And this kids is why you shouldn't grow up to be a marxist whore. You have to do crap like this, attempting to equate the US and Cuban system to make a case there is no real difference. Night and fricking day dude.

Perhaps you missed the President of Iran openly speaking here in the US? Not just at the UN, but at a major US University. Hell, take a look in the Middle Eastern Studies dept of most any US institution of higher education and you can find terrorist symps holding forth daily before captive audiences.

The Fracking Fundi Saudi Islamists openly operate schools in the US and teach jihad.

I don't want Nancy Pelosi in prison, I just want her removed from office. If you can't see that fundamental difference in the two political systems there just is no hope for ya.

> Maybe a book on how to achieve things?

We don't need to import that stuff, we have tenured professors like William Ayers not only writing how to manuals but actually regretting not blowing more shit up.

Re:Dual Standards (1)

saaaammmmm (1650977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438816)

In other news, you should jump off a cliff if it is the cool thing to do.

Re:Dual Standards (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438848)

One does wonder what would happen if an Iranian or Iraqi came into America and provided material means for people to rebel, overthrow, dissent terrorise the American government? Maybe a book on how to achieve things?

Umm, you can buy books like that in bookstores here. And on the web. And check them out of University libraries....

No copyright court cases in Cuba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438234)

In addition to this, unsurprisingly, the Cuban government doesn't have draconian laws against copyright, trademark or patent infringement. They don't have much IP of their own to protect, and they are not keen on respecting other nations' IPR tipping their trade balance into the negative. Nobody in Cuba gets done for copyright infringement, especially not for P2P of foreign music or films.

Unsurprisingly, the US wants to get Cuba back into the mainstream of nations by getting them to adopt the legal norms of the G20, and ultimately stronger IPR enforcement.

Dear USians (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438296)

You don't have to like the laws of other nations, but when within their borders you have to follow them or face the consequences.

When visiting the U.S. would I not be expected to follow U.S. laws. If I have a problem with this my choices are not to go to the U.S.

If you went and did the same thing in Australia you'd be charged as well, granted you'd only get a fine and not jail time the only difference is that we'd charge you under our tax and import laws (nice and civil like). The person in question went there with the express purpose of undermining the government, whether you agree with it or not it is illegal, not to mention ill thought out given the relative ease this person was caught.

Now if handing out technology to a developing nation's people was this persons goal there are many better, legal methods of doing it. There are literally dozens of charities dedicated to this goal.

Re:Dear USians (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438412)

So while we're allowed to complain about "telcos" being so utterly inhumane and charging us for basic rights, the government should intervene, etc., we're not allowed to get upset that another country will do who-knows-what do an American who was passing out laptops and cellphones?

Sure, he shouldn't have done if it was illegal. And the Cuban government should respect human life enough to realize that giving someone a free laptop is probably a pretty minor offense. Let's hope they do.

And anyone that wants to say Cuba is a model for anything successful in their government should probably have their head examined, it may have a few holes ;)

Re:Dear USians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438488)

depends... are you hispanic?

Dear master of moral equivalence (1, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438586)

When visiting the U.S. would I not be expected to follow U.S. laws.

Of course, you neatly skip over the laws that are so hard to follow between the two countries - in the U.S. for example, we frown on you killing people and so on.

All this guy did was hand out cell phones and laptops. That the people he was handing them to could buy if they could afford them. So they could communicate.

Now why exactly is the U.S. the monster in this scenario again? If you came to the U.S. handing out laptops and cellphones, I am pretty sure you would not be jailed. Unless you tried to give out RAZR phones, in which case you might well be shot but then of course you'd deserve it.

Re:Dear master of moral equivalence (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438738)

I think you're missing the point. It's about laptops per se - it's encouraging dissent. You get locked up for "supporting terrorism" in the USA, too. It's really not that different.

Sad day for Democracy (2, Funny)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438308)

Without those cell phones and laptops (paid for by the USA), how are people meant to use their training in democracy and civil society (paid for by the USA) to organize spontaneous demonstrations and peaceful non-violent provocations (paid for by the USA) to install a new democratic leader (paid for by the USA)?

Leave Cuba Alone (3, Insightful)

MrPloppy (1117689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438444)

Mod me down but while I think Cubans should be able to access the internet and communicate freely I think they should be left alone to work out their own problems. Cuba has been under attack (sanctions etc) for a very long time and you have to bear in mind the US relationship with central and south America hasn't exactly been hmmm how shall we say very fair. The US has been happy to triain death squads at the school of americas http://www.soaw.org/ [soaw.org] and fund the over throw of democractically ellected goverments (Chile, Nicuragua, Guatmala most recenly the atempt in Venuzuela and not to mention Syrian and Iran) so you could see the leader ship in Cuba might be a little paranoid.

They have an offense of "dangerousness" (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438448)

We have a similar catch-all equivalent, called "causing a public disturbance".

Re:They have an offense of "dangerousness" (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438750)

Me giving you a laptop causes a public disturbance?

Go on, pull the other one!

Look on the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438500)

at least they have a better health care system in cuba! isn't that worth trading your freedoms away for?

Get Smart (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438556)

An American citizen working as a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development has been arrested for giving away laptops and cellphones in Cuba. The intent was to enable activists to connect with each other and spread information of what's happening inside Cuba

What I see here is clumsily staged bit of agitprop worthy of Bush and Cheney - and very high risk for any Cuban activist foolish enough to become involved.

Anybody out there? (1)

alantus (882150) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438622)

I wonder when is the US going to do anything serious about the democracy deterioration in latin america.
The list of countries where democracy is falling apart is growing year by year. First it was only Cuba, but then Venezuela's Chavez joined the club. Chavez is so determined in exporting his ideology that he has successfully used the country's wealth to build alliances and undermine democracy in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and in less measure Argentina, and now he is trying really hard in Honduras, Peru and Colombia.

USSR Jails Citizen for use of Paper, Pencils (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438658)

Jeez, the Cubans are getting lax. Hard to find good, old fashioned totalitarians these days.

Odds are they work for Gore (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30438780)

Or some other high-profile douchebag who can get them out scott-free.

They are within their sovereign right to do so. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30438804)

Reverse it. Suppose foreigners had come here and started handing out goods we labeled contraband but were perfectly legal in their respective countries. We would likely react accordingly and arrest (or at least detain and deport) them. How about we change our attitudes regarding other nations to something like this: mind our own damn business. Thank you for reading.

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