Ros-Lehtinen Blasts State Dept For Giving Visas to Expelled Spy; Castro Relatives 3

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Calls Out State Department for Castro Visas

By Kevin Derby | Sunshine State News

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, came out swinging at the Obama administration on Tuesday for giving three Cubans with close ties to the Castro regime — Mariela Castro, the daughter of Raul Castro, Josefina Vidal  and Antonio Castro, the son of Fidel Castro — visas to enter the United States. Ros-Lehtinen wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the matter.

“I’ve written to Secretary Kerry to express my opposition and concern over the State Department’s recent decision to grant these three high-ranking Castro regime officials entry to the United States,” Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday. “This is a misguided decision that gives the appearance of normalcy in relations with this murderous regime and sends the wrong message to the 11 million Cuban people suffering under its oppressive rule. It is an affront to the principles of freedom and democracy, and I would urge the administration to reverse its decision and instead push for greater reforms on the island.”

Editor’s Note:  Directorate of Intelligence officer Josefina Vidal left the US in May 2003 as part of a mass expulsion of Cuban spy-diplomats.

Former Spy Arturo Lopez-Levy See Precedent in First “No” Vote By a Cuban Parliamentarian 7

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy

By Chris Simmons

The Associated Press shredded what little remaining credibility it still held by breathlessly announcing “Yet another revolutionary tradition has been broken in Cuba: A lawmaker voted “no” in parliament.” It’s fawning non-news story went on to report that Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, voted “no” on a labor bill she felt failed to provide adequate protection to HIV patients and members of the LGBT community.

Equally eager to obliterate his integrity, former Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Arturo Lopez-Levy, opined that Mariela Castro’s symbolic vote might “open doors for other important initiatives.”

In contrast, Cuban historian Carlos Alzugaray noted simply that the event marked the first “no” vote in the history of revolutionary Cuba’s National Assembly.

Mariela Castro: Freedom for Alan Gross and the Cuban Five (in Spanish & English) Reply

During a visit to The Nation‘s offices, Mariela Castro of the Cuban National Center for Sexual Education spoke about US foreign policy, arguing that “international relations can’t be done by force.” She also suggested that the United States and Cuba negotiate the release of Alan Gross and the Cuban Five “on the basis of reciprocity and respect.”

Erin Schikowski

Watch the video here:  http://www.thenation.com/video/168288/mariela-castro-freedom-alan-gross-and-cuban-five#

State Department Press Briefing on Mariela Castro and Alan Gross Reply

Special Briefing

Michael A. Hammer
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs

June 1, 2012

Extract:

QUESTION: Did she [Mariela Castro] meet with a member of the administration, and second is there some progress in the matter of Alan Gross. The Secretary met with [Judy] Gross this week. Is there anything to report in this regard?

MR. HAMMER: First, no one from the administration met with Mariela Castro. Second, the issue of Alan Gross is something we consider every day here. The State Department is very concerned about his health and situation. Secretary Clinton, as you mentioned, met with his wife, Judy Gross, and continues to urge the Cuban authorities, well, to release him immediately. It is a very unfair case, and even for humanitarian reasons they should allow Alan Gross to come to visit his 90 year-old mother, who is ill, just as René González was allowed to go to Havana in a similar humanitarian case. We will continue to insist. I really cannot understand why the Cuban regime does not allow Alan Gross to have his freedom. But at least it should allow a humanitarian release, given the seriousness of the illness of his mother, who is very old.

QUESTION: And the United States has always argued that this is a case that cannot be compared with the other case. Now you say that, it should now be with Gross just like it was for Rene. Isn’t this comparison just like that made by Havana?

MR. HAMMER: No, the only thing similar is that here, our judicial authorities gave humanitarian permission in a similar situation in the case of Rene Gonzalez, who had a relative who was also very sick. There are very different circumstances under which the Cuban spies were imprisoned here than for Alan Gross, who actually was working in an appropriate manner in Cuba. Therefore the cases are very different, but they are similar in that there sometimes are circumstances where you want to see that you can provide a way out for someone for humanitarian reasons; and one would like to see the same kind of understanding by the Cuban authorities. But let me be clear, Alan Gross should not be imprisoned. He has been unfairly imprisoned for more than two years and five months. In this case, he should be released immediately, and that is what we believe. But if they are not ready to do that now, at least in this case they should grant a humanitarian visit.

Read the transcript/watch the video here:   http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/06/191680.htm

Read the transcript in Spanish here:  http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/191894.pdf

CNN News Video – Mariela Castro on Alan Gross and U.S. Cuban Prisoners Issue 2

In the CNN news video below, Christiane Amanpour interviews Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro. She is asked about Alan Gross, who is an American citizen in prison in Cuba who wants to come home for a visit to see his dying mother. This video was added to CNN on June 1, 2012.

Alan Gross Issue:

Mariela thinks Alan Gross should be released so long as the five Cuban prisoners being held in the United States are also released. If the U.S. government actually wants Alan Gross released, then it seems like her opinion is not an entirely unreasonable diplomatic compromise. However, it depends on the various crimes committed by these parties. It’s not as simple as “you let my people go, and I’ll let yours go.”

In these situations, if you break a country’s laws and get put in prison, I usually feel that you just need to pay the price for it. However, there are some situations where an American citizen will inadvertently commit a local crime that has severe punishment. In those cases, it is sometimes better for the State Department to act on behalf of the prisoner. An example is the teacher in Africa who inadvertently committed the crime of insulting Mohamed by using a doll. She had no idea she was doing anything wrong under local law/custom.    [Posted on June 2, 2012 by Jimmy Boyd, Coutesy of WritingShares.com]

Raul Castro’s Daughter Speaks Candidly