La Repubblica, Rome, on Castro's repression of dissidents:
It is now evident that Fidel Castro's opening-up-to-the-world policy was little more than a request of Pope John Paul II and never turned into something concrete.
The Pope's visit to Cuba in January 1998 gave free rein to the enthusiasm of those who believed that the Cuban regime was headed towards a greater respect for civil, religious and political liberties. ...
The whole world began to open up, without realizing that the routine repression of dissidents continued. Four innocents, who had dared pronounce the forbidden word -- liberty -- had been in jail for months, unnoticed by the world.
The regime has gone too far this time.
The trial behind closed doors, the guilty sentences were too much even for those willing to give credit to the regime.
Now it's back to square one for Castro and probably back to a new long phase of isolation.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press