Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    No Legitimacy for Cuba’s Dictators

    No Legitimacy for Cuba’s Dictators
    Frank Calzon is the executive director of the Washington-based Center
    for a Free Cuba.
    OCTOBER 12, 2014

    There is no useful purpose served by legitimizing the Castros’ communist
    dictatorship in Cuba and giving it an international propaganda victory
    that would embolden the world’s other dictators.

    Opening relations would give the Castros an international propaganda
    victory that would embolden the world’s other dictators.
    U.S. policy has changed dramatically since the 1960s when Havana
    confiscated $1.8 billion in American properties. “Interests sections”
    are open in both capitals. Cuba annually buys hundreds of millions of
    dollars worth of American foodstuffs. The U.S. “embargo” requires they
    pay cash, because Cuba owes billions to European governments that have
    extended trade credits. Putting American taxpayers on the same hook is
    what the current push to “normalize” diplomatic relations is all about.
    But why do so? There are no “trickle-down” benefits to the Cuban people.
    Foreign trade and investment in Cuba is solely with the Castro
    government. There is no civil “rule of law” that settles disputes,
    orders payments or protects investors from government seizures and
    arbitrary arrests.

    The 15-year prison sentence handed to an American aid contractor, Alan
    Gross, for giving a satellite telephone and laptop to a Jewish group
    should be a warning to anyone who thinks relations with Cuba can be
    “normalized.” Gross was held for more than a year before the Castro
    government even concocted a charge. Now the Castros are trying to barter
    his release in exchange for the release of spies sentenced in U.S.
    prisons for spying on military bases in Florida (one of whom was allowed
    to visit his ailing mother in Cuba, whereas the regime denied Gross’s
    request to visit his dying mother).

    For good reason, the State Department keeps Cuba on its list of states
    supporting international terrorism. Cuba has trained terrorists,
    supplied troops to Marxist revolutionaries in Latin America and Africa,
    is an important member of the anti-Israel coalition at the U.N. and
    elsewhere, and last year was caught smuggling two war planes and missile
    parts to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. Today, the Castros
    are close allies of Syria and Iran. Cuba’s terrorist designs are
    undeniable and Havana is as repressive as ever.

    Source: No Legitimacy for Cuba’s Dictators – NYTimes.com –
    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/10/12/should-the-us-normalize-relations-with-cuba/no-legitimacy-for-cubas-dictators