Sunday, August 7, 2011

Responding to the Editorial Board of the Miami Herald

The editors of the Miami Herald have expressed the unsurprising view against the imprisonment of Alan Gross.  They have filled the opinion with ignorance and inaccuracies as they have tried to twist the unfortunate situations caused by the actions of Mr. Gross and USAID into reasons for restricting family visits and remittances once again.  By reading the comments that follow the article, it is clear that they have not convinced many of the readers of the Herald.
It's not "if" he was guilty, he was found guilty in Cuba which has its own laws and they apply to foreigners as well as residents.  Cuba's crime is not acting like Pakistan which released a CIA agent after he committed murder, probably because its dependence on American foreign aid.  "Democratic" Pakistan went on and did this against the popular opinion.  To the Pakistanis who were treated by Cuban doctors after the earthquake, those Cuban doctors probably smelled a lot better than their "elected" representatives.

There are groups trying to urge people in South Florida to get their citizenship for the very reason of being able to vote out these people who don't care to represent the residents of their respective districts.
The Cuban government can do anything possible under the sun and the majority of the press here will never suggest that it "smells like a rose."  It can educate poor Americans for free allowing them a chance to become doctors and still, they don't "smell like a rose."  They can have a nation with no homeless and our press can only point out that the quality of housing is poor.  They can provide free universal health care and all our press can point out is some pictures of dilapidated hospital rooms.
Our "free press" doesn't care to go beyond these facts and explain the difficulties that Cuba has faced over the years in obtaining certain medical equipment that is restricted by US laws.  The "free press" finds it difficult to point out anything about the problems in Cuba without trying to lay all blame at the feet of Castro, who himself and now his brother take responsibility for many of the mistakes that they have made.

If the route of trading Mr. Gross for the Cuban 5 is one that the US isn't interested in then there is nothing that we can do about it.  That is how our "democracy" works unfortunately.  Hopefully, those who are in positions to make those decisions will find the political courage to consider this option before it is too late for Mr. Gross' sick mother and daughter  to be with him again.  They are all pawns in this geopolitical stalemate and those grandstanding on the issue won't particularly be personally affected by the possible tragic personal outcomes of these real people.  

Silly editorials that choose to pretend a different reality serve no purpose than to act as a cheerleader for a particular side, in this case the extremists in South Florida.  This sham of an opinion is simply trying to argue for a return of the Bush policies in regards to remittances and family visits.  That policy did nothing to Cuba and did draw much criticism from the Cubans in this country.  If there was no Alan Gross this newspaper would be finding another excuse to support turning back the clock on our policies. 

That Sen. Rubio exclaims that the punishment is vastly disproportionate means absolutely nothing.  His opinion on the punishments handed out in Cuba have no value nor merritt when it comes to what Cuba decides to do as punishment.  This Senator possibly doesn't have a passport or if he does, doesn't care to understand what our own State Department has written inside of it.  The sixth item under important information says (and it is quite appropriate for a response to the Senator's nonsense) "6. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.  Penalties for violating local laws, even if unknowingly, CAN BE MORE SEVERE THAN IN THE US FOR SIMILAR OFFENSES."  (My capital letters)

It is clear for anyone at the editorial board, in the senate, or anyone who is a passport holder. 

The notion that this is only a "crime" in Cuba is dishonest.  Surely it is a crime to receive aid and act as a contractor for an enemy state everywhere.  I don't know if Mr. Gross registered as a foreign agent in Cuba, which was one of the crimes that the Cuban 5 were convicted of, but I'm sure that he didn't as he entered the country with a tourist visa.  This willful ignorance by so many in our press should be more than enough to suspect that the "free press" is a mere mouthpiece for certain groups and cares little about actually reporting in an unbiased way.  There is much reason to question the ability of our press as much as we like to question the press in other countries.

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