The U.S. today exchanged 3 Cuban intelligence agents held since the 1990s for American government contractor Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba since 2009, and an unnamed “U.S. intelligence asset” an administration source said has been imprisoned in Cuba for more than 20 years, but President Obama’s initiative goes far beyond a prisoner swap. It embraces lessened travel restrictions, easing the trade embargo, and establishing a U.S. embassy in Havana.
The president said “decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba.” He also said, “The policy changes [will] make it easier for Americans to provide business training for private Cuban businesses and small farmers and provide other support for the growth of Cuba’s nascent private sector.”
Coming at Hannukah time, the release of Alan Gross is something the Jewish community has also long sought. Mr. Gross had been charged with espionage for his efforts to help Cuban Jews.
For Rush Limbaugh this is less welcome. Now if he wants Cuban cigars, he will have to travel to Cuba to get them, support the Commies and only be allowed to bring back $100 worth of cigars!.