North Korea's Alan Gross, Cuba's Kenneth Bae

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Smuggling weapons isn't the only thing that Cuba's Castros and North Korea's Kim share in common.

They also have an affinity for taking American hostages -- Alan Gross in Cuba and Kenneth Bae in North Korea.

And, for coercing the United States.

Note both hostages are being held under eerily similar circumstances -- accused of absurd political crimes, handed 15-year prison sentences, suffering from ill health and extreme weight loss.

This week, in CNN:

Kenneth Bae, American imprisoned in North Korea, moved to hospital

Kenneth Bae, the American citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp, has been moved to a hospital after a serious deterioration in his health, his sister said.

Detained in North Korea in November and sentenced in April for "hostile acts to bring down its government," Bae is now suffering from severe back and leg pain and has lost more than 50 pounds, his sister Terri Chung told CNN late Sunday.

Detention in North Korea has taken a heavy toll on Bae, who had already been dealing with other health problems, including diabetes.

Sound familiar?

Last year, in The Washington Post:

American held in Cuba is in poor health, wife says

An American imprisoned in Cuba for nearly three years is in poor health and may not survive to serve out the remainder of his 15-year sentence, his wife said Tuesday after visiting him last week.

Alan Gross has lost 105 pounds and has a growth on his back that no American doctor has been allowed to inspect, according to his wife, Judy Gross, and an attorney for the family.

“He looks like a concentration camp victim,” Judy Gross said in a brief interview, adding in a statement that she fears he won’t survive.