Three-Years Later: Time For Pressure

Monday, December 3, 2012
On December 3rd, 2009, American development worker Alan Gross was taken hostage by the Castro regime in Cuba.

Last week, in response to a letter by 44 U.S. Senators, the Castro regime admitted that Alan Gross is indeed a hostage and has set its ransom -- the release of the so-called Cuban Five.

Why does the Castro regime feel so empowered?

For a couple of reasons.

Because initially 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.)

Alan's wife, Judy, told the AP this week that the diplomatic strategy failed:

"Part of the reason Gross' case isn't better-known has to do with strategy. For two years after he was arrested, Judy Gross and her then-lawyer tried working quietly through diplomatic channels. They talked to reporters, but appearances were limited."

"The quiet, diplomatic way wasn't working," Judy Gross said.

Moreover, because the Castro regime has yet to feel any repercussions for this hostage-taking. 

As we wrote in The Wall Street Journal in September:

"The [Obama] Administration initially used diplomatic mechanisms to try to negotiate Mr. Gross's release. These included a high-profile visit to Havana in January 2011 by then-Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Roberta Jacobson.

Ostensibly this was for the Cuba Migration Talks, which are part of a process to ensure safe and legal migration from Cuba. But Ms. Jacobson was the highest-level official ever to represent the U.S. at the talks, and it was hoped she could intercede on behalf of Mr. Gross. Nothing happened.

Common sense suggests that at this point the Obama administration should have toughened its stance by making clear that there would be repercussions if Mr. Gross was not released. Instead, the administration began another round of easing sanctions the next week."

Hasn't the time come to ratchet-up pressure on the Castro regime?