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Totalitarian regimes are not a thing of the past. Despite the practical revision and re-adaptation of its traditional operational model following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its monopolistic control of mass media, the economy and its relations of production, the military, the courts, all social institutions, and the espousal of a predominant ideology, all run by a single political party, has remained intact. The appearance of normalcy is a constant pursuit. Hence, the exercise of legality to validate despotic rule is the norm. Castro-Communism’s kangaroo court verdicts are a prime example of this.
Nazi Germany called them the “People’s Court.” The Bolsheviks, rising out of the 1917 decree decades earlier, labeled this simulated farce, “Revolutionary Tribunals.” The common thread among these variants of socialist legalism is the subservience of the courts to the ruling party’s elite power enclave. Throughout socialism’s history, whether fascist or communist, the judicial system serves to promote regime survivorship. This means exercising terror by way of its laws.
Cuba is undergoing an intense session of “revolutionary justice” following the 11th of July Cuban Uprising (11J), that mammoth display of mass, spontaneous demonstrations in over 60 localities, across the island, involving hundreds of thousands of citizens. The expected crackdown has been brutal and was fast in happening. Long prison sentences are being handed down. The Castro regime’s objective by way of hard-core terror is social domestication in general and the crushing of the opposition and potential opposition, in specific terms.
During the week of January 24, nearly 50 show trials are taking place across Cuba, all stemming from accusations borne out of the 11J protests. Cuban communism’s mock justice chief organ has declared that it has already “legally” processed 790 persons, including 55 minors. Among the preposterous charges the communist dictatorship has been drumming up are sedition, sabotage, assault and battery, public disorder, sexual assault, and contempt of court. The ludicrous nature of these fake legal accusations is that many of the protesters were victims of the very charges they are facing by criminal acts committed against them by the regime’s repressive forces, either during the protests or while in captivity.
Evidence that one of the primal goals of the Castro regime is the complete neutralization of all real or imagined opposition has been the arrest and trials of Félix Navarro Rodríguez, president of the Pedro Luís Boitel Party for Democracy, and his daughter, Saylí Navarro, a Ladies in White member, and human rights activist. Both are currently undergoing mock trials. Félix Navarro Rodríguez already served an 8-year sentence in what was known as the Black Spring, a brutal regime crackdown in 2003. Now at 68 years of age, he faces a 15-year jail term.
The incredible thing is that the leader of the movement named after Pedro Luís Boitel, an epic political prisoner who challenged the communist oppressors from inside Cuba’s prisons and died because of a 53-day hunger strike in 1972, was arrested the following 11J. Navarro Rodríguez while inquiring as to the whereabouts of members of his party who had disappeared at the local police precinct in Perico, Matanzas. Saylí Navarro, who accompanied her father on July 12, is facing an 11-year jail term.
Unfortunately, Cuban communism’s kangaroo courts will continue to arbitrarily hand down vicious sentences to all that rise against tyranny. The Navarro family is a typical case of the horrific injustice being carried out 90 miles from American shores. Freedom-loving people and their democratic leaders cannot say that they did not know. These show trials are there for the world to see. This is customary behavior for the Castro-Communist regime. When will the international apathy stop?
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.