Normalize relations with Cuba As appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 6, 2012:
The Journal Sentinel’s recent report on the decision of a former United States government contract agent to sue the U.S. government over his continued imprisonment in Cuba highlights the challenge and opportunity that President Barack Obama has to turn around over 50 years of failed U.S. policy toward our Caribbean neighbor (Nov. 29).
Alan Gross was repeatedly sent to Cuba under one of our government’s programs to supposedly foster U.S.-style democracy there and was given a 15-year sentence for attempting to distribute satellite telephone technology, which is generally restricted to U.S. government intelligence and other agents.
So far, the U.S. has demanded his release while rejecting Cuba’s offers to sit down and negotiate mutual concerns. This includes the refusal so far for Obama to pardon and release the Cuban Five, most of whom are in their 15th year of imprisonment in the U.S., based on their conviction in Miami for attempting to monitor the actions of extremists in the Cuban-American community there with a history of terrorist acts against Cuba.
On Nov. 6, Obama won at least half of the Cuban-American vote in Miami/Dade and some 60% of the Latino vote in Florida. He now has the opportunity to work toward normalized relations with Cuba, to restore the right of U.S. citizens to travel there and for mutually beneficial trade, since it is still illegal for any U.S. supplier to sell even a hammer or a bag of cement to any Cuban national, as Cuba tries to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy’s massive destruction in its second largest city.
That would be one change we can believe in.
Art Heitzer Milwaukee
The original Journal Sentinel Article, as it appeared on Thursday, November 29, 2012. It may also be downloaded here: Alan Gross JS Article 2012-12-07 (4)
Read more about Alan Gross’ case here:
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