This weekend, the North Korean regime released its two remaining American hostages, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller.
Bae, who had been handed a 15-year prison term, was held since late 2012. Miller, who had been handed a 6-year sentence, was arrested in April of this year.
Last month, North Korea also released Jeffrey Fowle, after five-months in detention.
According to U.S. officials, there was no "quid pro quo" for the men's release.
Moreover, it was reiterated that if North Korea wants improved relations with the U.S., "it must abide by commitments toward denuclearization and improved human rights."
In other words, the U.S. will not reward North Korea's regime for a crisis of its own creation.
North Korea has recently come under increased pressure, as charges for "crimes against humanity" hover over its young dictator, Kim Jong Un.
Last week, it was revealed that North Korea even recruited the efforts of Cuba's regime to diplomatically intervene with the European Union on Kim's behalf.
With the release of North Korea's hostages, Cuba's regime is now left looking more recalcitrant than its Northeast Asian ally.
Cuba's regime has been holding its American hostage, development worker Alan Gross, since December 2009. Gross was handed a 15-year prison term.
It has even brazenly stated its ransom demand for Gross -- the release of three Cuban spies convicted in U.S. federal court for penetrating U.S. military installations and forming part of a conspiracy to murder three American citizens and a permanent resident of the United States.
However, unlike North Korea's regime, Cuba has a sophisticated lobbying and public relations apparatus actively pressuring the Obama Administration for a "quid pro quo."
Just last week, it even persuaded The New York Times to publicly call for a "quid pro quo" for Gross' release. Interestingly enough, the NYTs did not make a similar plea for North Korea's hostages.
Such irresponsible actions have given Cuba's regime unrealistic expectations, which they are holding-out for.
Instead of parroting the Cuban regime's ransom demands, it's way past time to begin pressuring for the release of Alan Gross.
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