Obama State Dept. authorized Richardson to offer concessions in exchange for Gross
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. It appears the Cuban dictatorship still considered Bill Richardson an enemy when they unceremoniously slighted him on his recent visit to the island. In spite of Richardson's long history of being sympathetic to the brutal Castro dictatorship, the regime did not want to accept the gifts the Obama administration was willing to give them in exchange for the release of American hostage, Alan Gross.
According to sources cited by the New York Times, the U.S. administration authorized Richardson to offer the criminal Castro government two gifts: 1) the promise of getting the process starting to get them off the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terror, and 2) waive the probation of one of the five Castro spies due to be released from prison next month:
Bill Richardson had chits to offer Cuban officials in Havana this week if they released Alan Gross, the American contractor serving a 15-year sentence for distributing satellite telephone equipment.
Mr. Richardson, who has negotiated prisoner releases from Cuba to North Korea, had State Department approval to present at least two things, said four people with knowledge of the negotiations. One was a process for removing Cuba from the list of states sponsoring terrorism. The Obama administration was also willing to waive probation for one of the “Cuban Five,” as a group of Cuban agents accused of espionage in the United States are known on the island, so he could go home after he leaves prison next month.
It is apparent that the Castro regime believes their hostage is worth much more, and they are holding out for a higher ransom. Nevertheless, besides the bizarre sequence of events that surrounded Richardson's last visit, this latest revelation brings up another interesting point: It appears the Obama administration is willing to go to extreme measures to secure the release of Alan Gross.
By promising to begin the "process" to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror in exchange for the release of Gross, the Obama administration is basically rewarding the Castro regime for its act of terrorism when it took Gross hostage in the first place. The contradiction is also present in the promise to waive probation for the soon to be released Cuban spy. After spending months calling the Castro regime's trial of Alan Gross a perversion of justice, the Obama administration is more than willing to pervert U.S. justice by arbitrarily reducing the sentence of a convicted spy.
No reasonable or compassionate person wants to see Alan Gross spend one more second in a Castro gulag, but is capitulation to a criminal dictatorship the only way to gain his release? There are other methods to secure the freedom of Alan Gross, which are much more effective and do not require capitulation. The only problem is these methods require strong and principled leadership in our foreign policy to carry out, something the U.S. has been lacking since late January of 2009.