posted on Apr, 19 2003 @ 10:54 AM
Earlier this month, while Iraq was dominating the news, Fidel Castro quietly imprisoned nearly 100 of Cuba's dissidents, independent journalists,
human rights activists and intellectuals. Oscar Elias Biscet, for instance, a doctor and one of Cuba's best-known activists, was sentenced to 25
years in jail. Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, a 56-year-old economist who leads an umbrella organization of 300 human rights groups, was sentenced to
20 years; as was independent journalist Oscar Espinosa Chepe, who has written about the Cuban economy for U.S. Web sites. Cuban authorities accuse the
defendants of collaborating in a U.S.-led scheme to undermine the country's government. The charges are baseless. But convictions were rammed through
in farcical "trials" nevertheless.
Back at home, the Canadian government issued a statement decrying the "severity" of the recent crackdown. But Jean Chrétien made clear he still
wants good relations. "