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Time Doesn’t Change the Past

December 22, 2014
Weekly Columns

Certainly, we always celebrate the safe return of one of our own. Especially before the holidays, we understand the relief felt by the family, friends and loved ones of Alan Gross, the U.S. citizen who was held captive in Cuba for five years after entering the country as a contractor. On the same day as the release of Gross last week, the Obama Administration announced a plan to “normalize relations” with the corrupt Castro regime responsible for the imprisonment. The steps ahead include efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations and open commerce by lifting sanctions. While the president insisted that Gross was released for humanitarian reasons, it appears that the policy change unveiled last week is yet another prisoner exchange slanted heavily in favor of a known enemy. 

The United States has always shown strength against terrorism and commitment to combating threats around the world. Since 1982, Cuba has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. This has guided America’s distant, rightly-cautious relationship with Cuba. Now more than three decades after Cuba was first recognized as a terrorist sponsor, it appears that the president has forgotten the danger or naively supposed that time equals a changed regime. Apparently some in his administration don’t remember what caused our limited relationship with Cuba in the first place. Regardless, the reality is that Cuba is still led by the same family that mistreats and oppresses its own citizens and associates with other corrupt governments.

Without question, Americans feel for the Cuban people, who hunger for a return to democracy and are desperate to taste the sort of freedom we often take for granted. Over the years, many Cubans have embarked on journeys to flee oppression and live freely in America—revealing the true state of the country and the dangers posed by Communism. Certainly, the oppression they experience on a daily basis at the hands of their own government is unacceptable. Americans should want to break that bondage and prepare the pathway for the Cuban people to build their own free society. Unfortunately, this policy change doesn’t help the Cuban people; it further imprisons them to an oppressive government.

The timing of the Obama Administration seeking to normalize and rebuild diplomatic relationships with Cuba hardly makes sense. Like his brother, Cuba’s current dictator Raul Castro maintains close relationships with some of America’s worst and most dangerous enemies. Since the country is located just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, the possibility of harm at our own shores is uncomfortably close. Instead of being discouraged or forced to feel consequences, the intentions of the Castro regime are further emboldened and will likely empower other enemies of the United States to test a similar course of action.   

Time doesn’t change the past or the intentions of the same Cuban dictatorship. I am very disappointed that the president believes he can reason with a nation ruled by a corrupt dictator. In the process, he is setting a dangerous precedent that welcomes future negotiations with our proven enemies that are of little benefit to the United States.