Sunday's Wall Street Journal tells us more on the all-but-forgotten case of an innocent US hostage in Cuba, detailing the administration's utterly inadequate efforts to free him:
Since December 2009, American development worker Alan Gross has been imprisoned by the Castro regime for trying to help Cuba's Jewish community connect to the Internet. For that Mr. Gross-who was in Cuba as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development-was arrested, convicted in a sham trial and sentenced to 15 years. [snip]
The Obama administration followed up that all's-well message to the Communist dictator still holding an American hostage by granting a visa to Cuban dictator Raúl Castro's daughter, Mariela, to make a promotional tour across the U.S.
It's no wonder the Gross family has become more vocal and is now holding weekly protests at the Cuban Interests Section. Two U.S. senators, Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) and Jerry Moran (R., Kan.)-who have historically encouraged U.S. business ties with the Castro regime-stated in June that they have suspended their efforts to promote U.S.-Cuba trade. Sen Moran said he hoped this would "put pressure" on Havana to release Mr. Gross.
In July, the Obama administration did indefinitely postpone its yearly Cuba-U.S. Migration talks. But the Commerce Department is allowing shipments directly to Cuba out of the Port of Miami of food, medicine and other humanitarian items-and also of 32-inch flat-screen TVs.
Will the Obama administration-or a Romney administration-ever make it clear to the Castro brothers that their regime cannot take Americans hostage with impunity? The prospect of the U.S. rolling back non-humanitarian travel and transactions to the island would get Havana's attention. One thing is abundantly clear: Alan Gross needs stronger, tougher support than rhetorical demands that he be "immediately released."