NY Post: Castro Should Pay High Price for Gross' Imprisonment

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
From The New York Post's Editorial Board:

America’s Gross neglect

Remember Alan Gross, the 65-year-old American rotting away in a Cuban prison for the “crime” of helping the island’s Jewish community gain Internet ­access?

The married father of two recently said good-bye to his wife and daughter Nina, while his lawyer said Gross “has withdrawn” and told him “life in prison is not a life worth living.”

Since his 2009 arrest while working for the US Agency for International Development, his health has declined dramatically.

This week, 300 American rabbis signed a letter to President Obama insisting that Gross’ “immediate release from prison in Cuba and return to the U.S. must be a priority for our nation.”

At almost the same time, the Associated Press reported that another USAID program — this one involving an HIV prevention workshop — was part of a larger effort to use civic and health programs to promote freedom and democracy.

So far, the Obama administration has defended the program against criticism.

According to a State Department spokeswoman, it “enabled support for Cuban civil society, while providing a secondary benefit of addressing the desires Cubans express for information and training about HIV prevention.”

On this point, we’re with President Obama. America should never apologize for using its resources in a peaceful way to promote freedom in hostile soil — and to help people claim their God-given right to liberty.

It may be true the operation could have been handled much better.

But sending Alan Gross to Cuba to help its Jewish community connect with the ­outside world was not the great mistake. The mistake is not exacting a high price from Havana for keeping him there.