After more than five years in a Cuban prison, Alan Gross returned home yesterday to the United States and to his friends and family. I had the honor of traveling with Alan and his wife, Judy, as they made the trip home, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
When I visited Alan in prison last month, he expressed the hope that his terrible ordeal would lead to more constructive relations between the U.S. and Cuba. With the President’s announcement of several policy changes yesterday, Alan saw that hope fulfilled.
I don’t often agree with President Obama, but he was right to begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba.
For over 50 years, the policy of isolating Cuba has failed to achieve any democratic reforms. It has, however, succeeded in giving the Castros a convenient excuse for the failures of socialism.
Engagement isn’t going to turn Cuba into a model democracy overnight, but as we’ve seen around the world, it will certainly be an improvement over the status quo. Government control over the island will be lessened by increased American contact and commerce, and these changes will provide a boost to those who will actually make change in Cuba – the Cubans themselves.
Fundamentally, this is an issue of freedom. U.S. trade and travel restrictions with Cuba aren’t restrictions on Cubans – they are restrictions on Americans. I’ve long said if a government is going to tell its citizens where they can and can’t travel, it ought to be a communist country, not the greatest country in the world.
As always, I look forward to your feedback. Thanks.
Paid for by Jeff Flake for U.S. Senate, Inc.
This message was intended for: firstname.lastname@example.org
You were added to the system March 19, 2012.
To email@example.com Today at 2:04 PM
OK, Jeff! I agree in principle, but wonder how long it will take to start sending TAX PAYERS Money to Cuba?
Once again, our Appeaser-in Chief rolls over for a communist, and gets nothing in return! I am very happy we did get Mr Gross home, but wonder why we had to pay such a high price?
My only advice is NO FOREIGN AID TO CUBA!
I don’t usually write you, because often we are on the same page. However, I suggest you stop listening to Senator McCain. His mindset is based on how terribly he was tortured in Vietnam. As a Vietnam veteran myself, I must advise you that most of us suffer from a bit of unreality–and often I think McCain is among the worst in that manner. Please, become your own man quickly, or you will not get re-elected.