Freedom Hijacked - By Emiliano Antunez -Price of Liberty
Freedom Hijacked
By Emiliano Antunez

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December 15, 2003

The Florida straights may not look very large or dangerous on a map, but to Cubans who have braved its waters on rafts and makeshift boats it can be a menacing and sometimes deadly enemy. Last Thursday, in a Key West courtroom, the US Government took the place of the ominous straights finding six men guilty of air piracy and other related charges. They now face a minimum of 20 years in prison.

The case seems simple on the surface. The six men allegedly threatened the crew of the Cuban DC-3 and forced them off course, eventually landing at Key West Airport. The six men ages 21 through 31 (some accompanied by their wives and children) surrendered without incident and were promptly charged with air piracy by the US attorney.

Were these men heroes concerned with the health and welfare of their families or dangerous hijackers capable of violence without provocation? Proving that post 9/11 America has lost its compass and is no friend of liberty The US Attorneys office agreed with the latter arguing for a high bond because these men where "a danger to the community."

Cuba is a cruel and surreal place, inhabitants of the Island eek out a meager existence thanks to over 40 years of communist totalitarian rule, which has left its economy in shambles. The Cuban government also employs communist party members in what they call Committees for Defense of the Revolution (CDR) to vigilantly watch its citizens who "think" or act suspiciously (can you spell TIPS). Earlier this year Cubans were reminded of the price to be paid for dissent when three men who "hijacked" a ferry boat in an attempt to reach the United States where executed by the government within 10 days of the incident, even though no one was injured nor any lives lost during the "hijacking."

Taking all those factors into consideration freedom loving people all over would conclude that individuals using any means necessary to liberate themselves and their families from the clutches of tyranny are heroes. In essence these men liberated themselves and their family with no loss of life, in contrast to the US government's recent "liberation" of Iraq which came at with the price of thousands of innocent lives and billions in US tax dollars.

Proving once again that Governments are not about freedom and are all about power, Cuban born US attorney Marco Jimenez presented the US Governments view saying Cuban President Fidel Castro was "wrong" to say his office will treat the seven charged hijackers as "heroes," declaring they could face at least 20 years in prison for forcing two Cuban passenger planes to Key West. Further clarifying his point the US Attorney stated, "If anyone thinks we're going to be lenient on this defendant arrested Tuesday because he's Cuban, they are wrong. These individuals who commit crimes of violence should not be considered heroes. They should be considered criminals." This statement, along with other actions by our government, clearly point to the ever narrowing gulf between communist totalitarian regimes and the US Government. Evidence of an increasing chumminess was made even more obvious when the Cuban Government cooperated with US prosecutors permitting prosecution witnesses to travel to the states (without their families), while no defense witnesses were allowed off the island. In President Bush's own words the 9/11 hijackers carried out violent and criminal acts because they despised freedom, yet the six Cubans are being prosecuted by his administration for desiring freedom and actually doing something to obtain it.

The influence of government propaganda and indoctrination here in the United States of America came through loud and clear in the words of a juror who voted to convict ``But I took an oath to uphold the law. I tried to find them not guilty, as I suspect there are extenuating circumstances in the case. I searched for the smallest shadow of reasonable doubt and I really wish there would have been something, but the law is clear, and they said what they said. I feel I did the right thing.'' Perhaps the freedom loving Cubans on the plane overestimated the love and respect for liberty of the US Government, and the individualism and freedom of its citizens. The lesson here is clear: though degrees and methods may vary slightly, both the governments of the US and Cuba ultimately strive to be omnipotent.

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