Tags: Barack Obama | Castro-Cuba | deal | 53 | political | prisoners

Report Questions Whether Cuba Has Kept Its Deal With US

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:28 PM

A new report questions whether Cuban President Raul Castro has released 53 Cuban political prisoners, a move that was part of the recent deal the country made with the United States.

President Barack Obama promised the prisoners would be freed when he announced the improved relations between the two nations last month.

The U.S. made good on its end of the deal by releasing three Cuban prisoners in the U.S., while Cuba sent home American Alan Gross, who was serving a 15-year sentence in a Cuban prison for providing Internet equipment to Jewish Cubans as part of a U.S. program.

But the 53 political prisoners, according to the Wall Street Journal, most likely have not received their freedom yet.

The Journal contacted the State Department, which directed it to the White House, which would not provide the prisoners' names nor confirm they had been released.

"The U.S. government cannot confirm that they have been released and is not certain they're going to be released, even though the three Cuban spies have already been returned," Mary Anastasia O'Grady wrote in the Journal.

"A government official told me that keeping the names of the 53 quiet will give Cuba the opportunity to release them as a sovereign measure rather than at the behest of the U.S., and that this could allow for additional releases," O'Grady added. "In other words, the Castros are sensitive boys who throw despotic tantrums when their absolute power is questioned. Asking them to keep their word is apparently a trigger."

Critics of the deal Obama made with the Cuban government say the United States essentially gave the Castros exactly what they wanted: U.S. money in the form of trade and tourism. The U.S. has banned both to the island nation, just 90 miles off Florida's coast, since 1960.

As part of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, the U.S. government will open an embassy there. Several Republicans disagree with that move, and promised not to confirm any U.S. ambassador to Cuba if and when that person is put before Congress.

"If you are being an offered an ambassadorship to Cuba, turn it down, because you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting confirmed, [as] Congress will not enforce that," Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

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A new report questions whether Cuban President Raul Castro has released 53 Cuban political prisoners, a move that was part of the recent deal the country made with the United States.
deal, 53, political, prisoners
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2015-28-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 06:28 PM
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