All Black Media
Published on Dec 17, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama’s announcement on Wednesday that the United States would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostility drew the ire of two prominent Cuban-American members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) expressed relief that Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who was arrested in 2009 and accused of being a U.S. spy after allegedly supplying satellite photos and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community, was released on Wednesday. Gross’ release was the opening move of a major policy shift that will lead to the restoration of regular diplomatic rules with Cuba, suspended in 1961, and the opening of an American embassy on the communist-ruled island.
Sires, who was born in Cuba, added
“Nothing the Cuban regime does is humanitarian in nature, particularly when it continues to deny the Cuban people basic human rights while utilizing fear, incarceration, and unwarranted force to maintain control,” said Sires in a written statement on Wednesday. “While I am relieved that Mr. Gross will finally be home with his family, I would be remiss not to wonder how the family of murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster feels as his killer, Joanne Chesimard, still roams freely in Cuba. Chesimard [a.k.a. Assata Shakur] is currently listed by the FBI as the number one most wanted terrorist and has been enjoying political asylum in Cuba for 30 years.
“It is a dangerous precedent to concede and utilize Americans detained abroad as mere pawns for trading,” Sires added. “Not only will this be an open invitation for rogue regimes and actors to follow the same playbook, but it potentially places many American lives overseas at risk.”