After a prisoner exchange involving American Alan Gross– who had been jailed in Cuba for five years– President Obama announced that he had agreed with President Raul Castro to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries after nearly 54 years.
Cuba arrested Gross on Dec. 3, 2009, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews. Gross had been working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Gross’s lawyer and family have described him as mentally vanquished, gaunt, hobbling and missing five teeth. Speaking to reporters after arriving in the United States, Gross thanked Obama for all he had done to secure his release and said he did not blame the Cuban people for his ordeal.
The Cuban regime also released a US intelligence agent who had been held for nearly 20 years. It promised to free 53 political prisoners and allow greater access to the Internet. That, of course, remains to be seen.
In return the US freed three Cuban intelligence agents held in the United States.
I hope I don’t need to prove my anti-Castro credentials, and I understand why some people are opposing these moves. But I can’t find anything objectionable in what Obama has said or done.
If the US can have diplomatic and economic ties with China, a repressive one-party state halfway around the world, what possible logic can there be for not doing the same with a much smaller repressive one-party state just 90 miles offshore?
And if 54 years of non-recognition and embargoes failed to bring down the Cuban regime or move the country any closer to democracy, perhaps it’s time to try another approach.