March 27, 1997
In the twisted world of Castro's Cuba, nothing is for sure. Changes that are announced one day are just as likely to be reversed the next. Perhaps Castro has decided a nation of people driven mad by insecurity and instability is easier to rule.
First, a general is jailed on trumped-up charges, then released for "humanitarian" reasons after serving eight years, then arrested and jailed again.
No one really knows why former general Patricio de la Guardia, now 58, was released after only serving eight years of his thirty-year sentence for his alleged involvement in a drug smuggling operation. The release was a complete surprise. Of course, it is also difficult to determine why he wasn't executed, like his brother and several other military officers accused of the same crimes. And no one can, or will, explain his recent re-arrest.
In another bizarre reversal, Cuban officials began a crackdown on the private businesses that had provided a glimmer of hope to Cuba's economically desperate citizens. About four years ago, government officials had allowed and even encouraged the small private businesses. Now they seem intent on driving those businesses out of existence.
Tiny shops, restaurants, and taxi operations were flourishing before the recent crackdown. On an island where physicians earn a salary of $18 per month, officials say they are "trying to perfect our socialist system." We presume that the closing of ice cream shops and privately run taxi cabs is further evidence of approaching perfection.
(Source: Miami Herald.)
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