From an article by Robert Cox in the January issue of Index on Censorship:

Twenty years spent working as a journalist in Argentina gave me a great deal of experience of authoritarian governments, but until I went to Cuba I had no firsthand knowledge of what it is like to live under a totalitarian regime. ...

There seems to be a brotherhood of thugs ready to serve any despicable dictator. They are ordinary men, for whom even torture is just part of the job. In Cuba, many of them also work as tourist taxi drivers -- superior cabbies, entrusted with Mercedes Benz limousines, restricted for use by foreigners, in a country where most of the cars on the roads are 25 to 30 years old. ...

In both countries, to call the state security apparatus an intelligence agency is ridiculous. In both cases, the agencies seem marked by brutish stupidity and achieve the same result: a stifling fear. But there are differences. They are subtle, but interesting. Although in Argentina the repression was numerically much more deadly than in Cuba -- although statistics on the subject are not reliable -- fear is far more widespread in Cuba than it was during Argentina's long dark night of murder and torture. The reason is that in Argentina the likelihood of being seized by death squads, tortured and murdered seemed remote to most Argentines. ...

In Cuba, fear is widespread because everyone, at some time or other, has committed some petty crime. ...

Another similarity is that bureaucrats who work for dictatorships, regardless of whether they are of the Left or of the Right, always lie. Don't think they tell the truth about anything. Even a little truth would wreck their lives.