The USA Today’s hopelessly obtuse columnist DeWayne Wickham has written an editorial calling for the release of the five convicted Castro spies and murderers in exchange for Alan Gross, the American hostage being held for ransom by the Castro regime. Apparently, Wickham believes that trading five imprisoned spies who were in the U.S. committing espionage on military bases, and who played a principle role in the murder of four innocent Brothers to Rescue pilots shot down by Cuban MiGs, is an even trade for Gross. Five Cuban spies and murderers working on behalf of a criminal dictatorial regime for one American internet installer — that sure sounds like a fair trade.
Now, nearly two years after his arrest, Gross — reportedly in poor health — languishes in a Cuban prison. But he could be home in a few days if the U.S. will exchange the five Cuban spies it imprisoned 13 years ago for the 62-year-old Gross.
The so-called Cuban Five— espionage agents whom Cuba had sent here to spy on Cuban exiles who want to overthrow the Castro regime — received sentences ranging from life to 15 years. One of them was accused of conspiracy in the 1996 shoot down of two U.S.-based civilian planes by Cuban MIG fighters. Cuba says those planes violated its air space — a claim that is denied by Brothers to the Rescue, the Cuban exile group that operated those flights.
Spying is a nasty business that, unfortunately, produces a lot of collateral damage. Keeping the Cuban Five in prison won’t bring back the lives lost in that shoot down. But swapping them for the ailing Gross could save the life of a man who says he was tricked into the spy game.
It is pretty amazing that Wickham can speak so confidently when apparently he as very little knowledge on the subject. It would only take this “journalist” about 15 seconds on Google to learn that an investigation into the incident by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) came to the conclusion that the airplanes were shot down in international waters. But why use independent sources to investigate a matter when the Castro regime is giving him all the information he needs for his article?
This is not the first time DeWayne Wickham relies on the Cuban regime for his “facts.” Recently, he traveled to Cuba as a VIP guest of the regime. During his visit, he conferred with Castro officials and based on those conversations, he confidently proclaimed that there would be no “Arab Spring” type uprising in Cuba.
At this rate, Wickham may earn himself a weekly column in Granma.