Castro Must be Held Responsible for Gross' Continued Imprisonment

Monday, October 27, 2014
By Frank Calzon in The Washington Post:

The Oct. 21 editorial “Truth and freedom in Cuba” said that the Cuban government “continues to imprison Alan Gross on false charges.” Mr. Gross is a development aid subcontractor who was sentenced to 15 years for giving a satellite telephone and laptop computer to a handful of Cuban Jews seeking access to the Internet. I hope President Obama and his foreign policy advisers read the editorial carefully.

Mr. Gross is a U.S. hostage trapped in Cuba. He committed no internationally recognized crime and was held more than a year before charges were made against him. His “trial” was a sham, and his sentence is the same as the one imposed on Fidel Castro in 1953 for attacking an Army base where many died. Mr. Castro served less than two years. Mr. Gross has served more than four years, lost 100 pounds and vision in one eye and cannot walk. He was denied a compassionate furlough to visit his dying mother in the United States. Yet a Cuban spy convicted of infiltrating U.S. military bases was allowed to visit his sick mother in Cuba.

Mr. Gross’ emotional state is deteriorating. If Mr. Gross dies in prison, Raúl Castro, who now heads Cuba’s government, should be held personally responsible.

The Post is absolutely right when it says “fully lifting the embargo now would reward and ratify [Havana’s] intransigence.”