Castro’s Gulag: One comes out, but one goes in

If you’ve ever read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, then you’ll understand the simple formula of the communist’s repressive machine: for one to get out of prison, one must come in.

And so it is with Fidel Castro’s own Gulag. First, one goes in:

A Cuban dissident has been jailed for 12 years after a secret trial in Havana for writing anti-government slogans, a Cuban human rights group has said.

Lawyer Rolando Jimenez Posada, 36, was tried for disrespecting authority and revealing secrets about state security police, the rights group said.

Mr Posada, who has been in detention since March 2003, was reportedly not allowed to defend himself in court.

He is the second dissident in Cuba to be tried secretly this month.

It is not clear whether the time Mr Posada has already spent in jail on the Isle of Youth, off Cuba’s southern coast, would count towards the 12-year sentence.

Then one comes out:

Jorge Luis Garcia Antunez, one of Cuba’s longest-serving political prisoners, stepped free after serving his full prison term of 17 years and 34 days, dissident sources said on Monday.

Antunez, now 42, went home to Placetas in central Cuba on Sunday and headed for the cemetery where his mother was buried while he was jailed, fellow dissident Guillermo Farinas said.

Antunez was 25 when he was jailed for spreading “enemy propaganda” after he grabbed the microphone on a stage during a musical recital in Placetas and began shouting slogans against President Fidel Castro.

Actually, more than one has gone in to Castro’s Gulag recently without a corresponding number coming out. But let’s not split hairs here, shall we?