The Corner

The Best and the Worst

In Cuba, the best and the worst of humanity are on display. The worst, of course, is embodied by the Communist dictatorship that has ruled the country since 1959. As is the wont of totalitarian dictatorships, they have a gulag. Some pretty unpleasant things happen there.

The best of humanity is embodied by human-rights activists who stick their neck out — often to have that neck chopped off.

In my Impromptus of September 28, I spoke of Laura Pollán, who founded the Ladies in White. These are women who have loved ones in prison, or once did, and engage in the gentlest forms of protest: walking silently through the streets, holding candlelight vigils, and so on. They have been subjected to vile abuse, including physical attack. In that column, I said, “Remember and bless the name Laura Pollán,” a “phenomenally brave woman.”

Little did I know I would be eulogizing her in today’s column. She died late last week. I would like to share with you a moving news photo: here. It shows a rare man marching along with the Ladies in White, Hector Maseda, the husband, now widower, of Laura Pollán. As I say in my column, I hope there is a monument to Laura in a free Cuba.

In other news, one of the Cuban Five has been released, here in the United States. The Five are spies of the dictatorship, convicted of espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. They are, of course, a big cause on the left. The released spy said, “We still have four brothers whom we have to rescue.”

I doubt his words were accidental. They were meant to inflict injury — to add insult to murder. One of the Cuban Five was convicted for his role in the dictatorship’s shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996. The planes were looking for people trying to flee the dictatorship, on their rafts and anything else that might float. The planes were in international airspace. In shooting them down, the dictatorship killed three U.S. citizens and one permanent resident.

To be continued . . .