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IPFS News Link • Tyranny

The Tyranny of Domestic Highway Checkpoints

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

One day I took a cab from Havana to a small town named Trinidad. The drive  took several hours and I arrived at dusk. I paid the cab driver and he returned to Havana.

There were no hotels in Trinidad, but people would rent a room in their house. When I attempted to rent a room, the owner asked to see my passport. The regime required her to keep track of who stayed in her house. You know — to keep Cubans "safe."

It was at that point that I realized that I had forgotten my passport back in my hotel room in Havana. The proprietor had a look of horror on her face. She said that she could not dare to rent a room to me. It was too dangerous, she said, because she could get into a lot of trouble with the authorities.

I made her an offer she could not refuse and she agreed to rent the room to me. But she warned me that if I planned to return to Havana by car, I would be in big trouble. She said that the police had highway checkpoints where travelers were required to stop and produce their papers. She said that it was a virtual certainty that I would be arrested and incarcerated for failure to have proper papers with me. The checkpoints were obviously installed at random and on a temporary basis because I not encountered any of them on the trip to Trinidad. Fortunately, I was flying back to Havana and was able to distract the ticket agent from asking for my passport by getting him to talk about a upcoming baseball game between the U.S. and Cuba.

Why do I bring up this story? To show that highway checkpoints are a hallmark of a dictatorial regime.