After reading the news story below, ask yourself two questions:
1. If Cuba's dissident community is so "small" (and therefore "harmless"), then why does the Castro regime spend such extraordinary time, effort and resources to suppress it?
2. How little support must the Castro regime have when it has to succumb to its own elite (such as the son of Cuba's Ambassador to Spain - see picture below) to play the role of "spontaneous pro-government demonstrators" in its repression against dissidents?
From the AP:
Cuba intensifies campaign against dissidents
HAVANA - Cuba stepped up its campaign against the island's small dissident community on Sunday, with pro-government demonstrators screaming insults at the "Ladies in White" opposition group a day after state-television aired a program denouncing them as agents of Washington.
About 100 pro-government demonstrators surrounded the Ladies as they marched in Havana's Vedado neighborhood, shouting slogans like "Down with the Worms!" and "This Street Belongs to Fidel!" as well as some sexually offensive slogans.
The Ladies, mostly middle-aged wives and mothers of political prisoners jailed in a 2003 sweep against intellectuals and opposition figures, wore sweat shirts bearing the image of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a political prisoner who died last year after an 83-day hunger strike.
They stood in the middle of the street and refused to move, until security agents moved in and loaded them onto government buses. It was not clear where they were taken, though in the past the dissidents are usually brought back to their homes.
The ugliness, known as an "Act of Repudiation," is an oft-repeated spectacle in Cuba. The government contends the screaming crowd turns out spontaneously to denounce the opposition, though little is done to conceal coordination with state security agents who are also on the scene.
In past demonstrations, state agents have waved for supporters to come forward once it became clear the Ladies would not heed warnings to halt their march.
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