Friday, October 14, 2011

LPP First Draft...

Senator Rubio: Jacobson Nomination in Question

Friday, October 14, 2011
Senator Rubio Statement on Administration's Proposed Prisoner Exchange With Cuba

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement regarding the Obama Administration's attempts to negotiate the release of an American contractor held in Cuba in exchange for releasing a convicted Cuban spy and easing sanctions:

"It's deplorable that the U.S. government offered several unilateral concessions to the Castro regime in exchange for the release of a man who was wrongfully jailed in the first place. Rather than easing sanctions in response to hostage taking, the U.S. should put more punitive measures on the Castro regime.

Until Secretary Clinton answers for this, the nomination of Roberta Jacobson to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere will be in question."

Support for Democracy Should Not Be Negotiable

By Elliott Abrams at the Council of Foreign Relations:

Trading Away Cuba Policy

Israel’s swap of roughly one thousand prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit demonstrates the extremely difficult choices any decent country faces when dealing with governments or terrorist groups that hold human life cheap. Whatever one’s view of Israel’s decision to make this swap, it is worth noting that Israel is exchanging prisoners–not changing its policies toward terrorism.

This point becomes important when one discovers what the United States was apparently willing to give Cuba in exchange for the freedom of Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who is being held as a hostage in Havana. According to the Associated Press, the Cuban regime was told that the United States would not only free a Cuban spy held in prison here, but was “willing to consider”:

removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism; reducing spending on Cuban democracy promotion programs like the one that led to the hiring of Gross; authorizing U.S. companies to help Cuba clean up oil spills from planned offshore drilling; improving postal exchanges; ending a program that makes it easier for Cuban medical personnel to move to the United States….

Now, an administration spokesman told the A.P. that “the offer was only to discuss those issues after Gross was released, with no guarantees that U.S. policies would change.” That is not a significant demurral, because it admits that in exchange for Gross’s freedom we were willing not only to engage in a prisoner swap but to bring into question key elements of our policy toward Cuba. It is especially offensive that we were willing to negotiate over support for democracy in Cuba, for that would mean that the unjust imprisonment of Gross had given the Castro dictatorship a significant victory. The implications for those engaged in similar democracy promotion activities elsewhere are clear: local regimes would think that imprisoning an American might be a terrific way to get into a negotiation about ending such activities.

Every American administration faces tough choices in these situations, but the Obama administration has made a great mistake here. Our support for democracy should not be a subject of negotiation with the Castro regime.
Capitol Hill Cubans

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