Ros-Lehtinen Statement on the Release of Alan Gross

Dec 17, 2014

Ros-Lehtinen Statement on the Release of Alan Gross

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the release of Alan Gross. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Although the freedom of Alan Gross is welcome news, it’s important to remember that Mr. Gross should have never been imprisoned in Cuba by the Castro regime in the first place. The manner in which the White House has negotiated this prisoner swap is a slap in the face to the families of the Brothers to the Rescue and poses a threat to our national security. President Obama has unilaterally released three convicted Cuban spies who were responsible for the deaths of three American citizens and one U.S. resident: Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre, Mario de la Peña, and Pablo Morales, whose planes were unjustly shot down over international waters on direct orders of the Castro brothers.

“Ever since Gross had been unjustly imprisoned, several high ranking Administration officials reiterated to Congress and to the American people that there was no equivalency between the Cuban Five and Alan Gross and reaffirmed that no swap would take place. Furthermore, this agreement between Obama and Castro leaves out one important aspect: the Cuban people. The reality is that since the Obama administration first eased restrictions, the situation on the island has gotten worse with an increased level of arbitrary detainments. The Castro dictatorship should be answering to its own people to whom it has denied basic rights for over five decades.

“The liberalization policies aimed at easing trade and remittances to Cuba is another propaganda coup for the Castro brothers, who will now fill their coffers with more money at the expense of the Cuban people. It is quite possible that this unilateral action by the President without Congressional consultation is in violation of the following U.S. laws: Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996, Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the Trading with the Enemy Act. The White House attempts to normalize relationships with Cuba without the approval of Congress may be in direct violation of Helms-Burton that specifically states that all political prisoners must be released and free and fair elections must be held before establishing a diplomatic relationship. This misguided action by President Obama will embolden the Castro regime to continue its illicit activities, trample on fundamental freedoms, and disregard democratic principles.”

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