Respectfully, Mrs. Gross is Wrong

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
In today's New York Times, the wife of Castro's American hostage Alan Gross, has unfortunately misdirected her frustration.

Alan is a victim of 50 years of failed policy with Cuba,” said Judy Gross.

Respectfully, Mrs. Gross, Alan is not a victim of U.S. policy.

Alan is the victim of a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, which has complete disregard for human rights and international law.

Providing Internet access to the Cuban people, as Alan was doing, is protected under international law.

It is encapsulated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Our community understands Mrs. Gross's frustration better anyone else.  

We have seen our friends and families beaten, imprisoned and executed for 50 years.

Moreover, we understand what it's like to feel as if the world doesn't care.

Just this week, we have seen foreign news bureaus in Havana report on a new ballet for obese people and a fancy dog show, rather than on the spike in repression against peaceful democracy activists.

Mrs. Gross then sadly proceeds to state that she believes her husband is “a pawn of these very radical right-wing Cuba haters, for lack of a better word, who don’t want to see any changes happen, even to get Alan home.”

We undoubtedly stand in solidarity with Mrs. Gross in wanting to see her husband released.

Moreover, we want to see changes happen more than anyone else.

We long for fundamental change in Cuba, where human rights are respected and people are free to choose their own destiny -- a Cuba, where Alan Gross and others like him will not be taken hostage for helping Cubans connect to the Internet.

That is exactly what U.S. policy is conditioned towards.

But that doesn't make us "radical right-wing Cuba haters" any more than it would make Mrs. Gross one for stridently advocating for her husband's freedom.