‘Cuba Experts’ decry hard line taken by Alan Gross’ family
When Alan Gross was arrested by the Cuban regime nearly three years ago for helping Cuban Jews connect to the internet, his family attempted to secure his release by playing nice with the Castro regime. They begged, they swore they meant no harm to the vile Castro dictatorship, and Gross even denounced U.S. policy against the Cuban government. After doing everything they could to appease the Castro regime, their efforts were rewarded with a farcical trial that resulted in a 15-year prison sentence for Mr. Gross.
Realizing that playing nice with a ruthless dictatorship rarely if ever results in anything positive, the Gross family, along with Jewish organizations, have begun an awareness campaign, publicizing the plight of Alan Gross and his unjust imprisonment to the world. Naturally, the "Cuba Experts" are having a fit, counseling the Gross family to return to a policy of appeasement: The same policy, one should note, that resulted in Gross receiving what is tantamount to a death sentence because of his age and faltering health.
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The campaign to free Alan Gross, a Jewish contract worker jailed in Cuba for almost three years, has dramatically ramped up since President Obama’s reelection.
But experts warn that the latest salvos in the battle to free Gross, led by his wife, Judy, and a prominent human rights lawyer, are scattershot and potentially counterproductive.
“There is not a single, self-respecting, knowledgeable Cuba expert who thinks this new strategy is comprehensive or has a snowball’s chance of working,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former national intelligence officer for Latin America at the CIA.
“This is a very fluid moment,” added Julia Sweig, a Latin America specialist for the Council on Foreign Relations. “It is a moment when the Obama administration should well be getting in a room and negotiating the terms of [Gross’s] release. I would hate to see any of this public pressure diminish or hurt that environment.”
The Gross family, led by lawyer Peter Kahn, started turning up the heat on the administration and on the Cuban government at the beginning of this year, taking to newspapers and television to blast both sides for using Gross as a pawn in U.S.-Cuba brinksmanship.
Since the presidential election, on November 6, the campaign has become even fiercer.
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