For readers who wonder why I’ve been silent on the recent hijacking of the airplane in Cuba by a group of young conscripts… well, I’ve been extraordinarily busy this week. I do have a “day job,” after all.
My take on the thing is I could understand why they want to leave. They just chose the wrong way to do it. I suppose desperation drives you to do irrational things. The young guys who did it are not going to get a fair trial–if they even get a trial at all–and the reason for their taking an airplane won’t fly (pardon the pun) with Castro.
Sadly, I think you can count in days how much longer these youngsters are going to remain alive. There’s not going to be an appeal. There’s not going to be an international “Free the Three” campaign. No long, drawn out drama. Just an execution of three young men whose only crime is wanting to be free.
That’s why I was surprised to find coverage somewhat sympathetic to the young men in the Seattle Times. Normally, we in Miami think of Seattle as an ultra-liberal enclave and so you’d expect their newspapers only to provide coverage sympathetic to Castro and not would-be defectors:
Cuba analysts said the deadly hijacking attempt reflected the discontent among the island’s young people. More than 20 percent of Cuba’s 11.4 million people were born after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the economic hardship that followed the fall of Cuba’s once-powerful benefactor. At least one-third of the nearly 1 million Cubans who have left the island for the U.S. since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 did so after 1999, according to a Pew study of U.S. Census data.
“These were 19-, 21-year-old kids, and they obviously felt extreme desperation that they were willing to take those risks,” said Brian Latell, a Cuba analyst and author of “After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro’s Regime and Cuba’s Next Leader.”
I think this says something important. Youngsters who have been indoctrinated practically since birth know instinctively that there is something terribly wrong with Castro’s version of Cuba.