Repercussions for Alan Gross’ Hostage-Taking Are Long Overdue
To argue that the Obama Administration hasn’t done anything to secure the release of Castro’s American hostage, development worker Alan Gross, is unfair and incorrect.
The Obama Administration has taken steps to secure Gross’ release — albeit only in the form of easing sanctions and unconditionally engaging his Cuban hostage takers.
This has resulted in an emboldened Castro regime hardening its blatant ransom demands for Gross, namely the release of three Cuban spies convicted in U.S. federal courts for serious crimes, including forming part of the conspiracy to murder three American citizens and a permanent resident.
To understand how the Castro regime views its American hostage, Alan Gross, read this recent oped by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who visited him in Cuba.
Of course, for the Castro regime and its propagandists in the United States, anything less than the dangerous and unmerited release of these Cuban spies is equivalent to “doing nothing.”
The Obama Administration deserves credit — thus far — for publicly recognizing the dangerous precedent such an arrangement would set.
However, the steps taken by the Obama Administration to ease sanctions and engage the Castro regime (rather than facing repercussions) pursuant to Gross’ imprisonment were summarized in the following Wall Street Journal oped from September 2012, which remains just as timely and relevant today:
Cuba’s American Hostage
The White House calls for the release of Alan Gross but puts scant pressure on Havana to let him go.
by Mauricio Claver-Carone
Since December 2009, American development worker Alan Gross has been imprisoned by the Castro regime for trying to help Cuba’s Jewish community connect to the Internet. For that Mr. Gross—who was in Cuba as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development—was arrested, convicted in a sham trial and sentenced to 15 years.
The White House and State Department have repeatedly called for Alan Gross’s “immediate release.” The Gross family’s legal team urged the family to keep a low profile, thinking it could negotiate his release. (The family ended that representation earlier this year.)
But Fidel and Raúl Castro don’t typically react to discretion and haven’t felt much U.S. pressure on this case. Even after Mr. Gross was seized, the administration sought rapprochement with Havana and continued talks in 2010 and 2011. It also has continued to ease U.S. sanctions on Cuba.
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