Hey, Barry! Where are the 53 dissidents Cuba promised to release?

Some low comedy yesterday at the State Department press gaggle, as spokesperson Jen Psaki couldn't say whether Cuba has released the 53 political prisoners it promised when it struck a deal to normalize relations.

Washington Free Beacon:

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki repeatedly refused to answer questions this afternoon about the 53 political detainees Cuba promised to release as part of a deal with President Obama to normalize relations with the United States.

When asked about a lack of transparency in the prisoner exchange process, Psaki said, “Well, we know who’s on there. And the Cuban government knows who’s on there.”

The Cuban government hasn’t exactly been a model for transparency the last half century. Included in his deal with Cuba, Obama announced two weeks ago that the U.S. government had released three Cuban spies. The lack of progress in freeing the Cuban political prisoners increases the scrutiny on that White House decision.

After Psaki stated that she had no updates to provide, a befuddled Matt Lee asked, “Hold on — hold on a second. Can we — I mean, is it — what’s happening? Are they out? Are they not out? … Where are they?”

Psaki responded, “I don’t have any more updates to provide for you, Matt.”

Lee, frustrated, followed up, “So the Cubans don’t actually have to do anything?”

Psaki answered, “Matt, no. This is something they’ve agreed to. I would point you to them for any updates on the number of people or the people have been released.”

Mary O'Grady in the Wall Street Journal has a few questions about the Cuba opening for the president that might make him a tad uncomfortable:

Mr. Obama was destined to have trouble changing Cuba policy. Nixon went to China. But “Obama goes to Havana”? That sounds like stand-up comedy. A man with some humility might have prepared for the challenge. Mr. Obama did not. Now, little by little, what he says he got in the “negotiations” seems to be evaporating while what he gave away appears reckless.

The U.S. president hasn’t gone to Havana, not yet anyway. But he did use the prisoner swap to announce that he plans to unconditionally open diplomatic relations with the military dictatorship, something that the Castros have long demanded. Count that as concession one.

He said he would ease restrictions on American travel to the island and make it legal to use U.S. credit cards and debit cards in Cuba, thereby boosting revenues for the military-owned tourism industry. That’s concession two.

His promise to review Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror sounded like he had already made up his mind. “At a time when we are focused on threats from al Qaeda to ISIL, a nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction,” Mr. Obama said.

That would complete the concession trifecta. Cuba still supports the FARC, the Colombian terrorist group, it got caught in 2013 trying to smuggle weapons through the Panama Canal to North Korea, and credible intelligence analysts say Cuba has provided Venezuela the technology it needs to falsify identities for Middle East terrorists.

Remind me to ask Obama to sell me my next car.  With negotiating skills like this, I might end up getting it for free.

If his administration negotiated this kind of a deal with Cuba, what do you think a final deal with Iran will look like?

Some low comedy yesterday at the State Department press gaggle, as spokesperson Jen Psaki couldn't say whether Cuba has released the 53 political prisoners it promised when it struck a deal to normalize relations.

Washington Free Beacon:

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki repeatedly refused to answer questions this afternoon about the 53 political detainees Cuba promised to release as part of a deal with President Obama to normalize relations with the United States.

When asked about a lack of transparency in the prisoner exchange process, Psaki said, “Well, we know who’s on there. And the Cuban government knows who’s on there.”

The Cuban government hasn’t exactly been a model for transparency the last half century. Included in his deal with Cuba, Obama announced two weeks ago that the U.S. government had released three Cuban spies. The lack of progress in freeing the Cuban political prisoners increases the scrutiny on that White House decision.

After Psaki stated that she had no updates to provide, a befuddled Matt Lee asked, “Hold on — hold on a second. Can we — I mean, is it — what’s happening? Are they out? Are they not out? … Where are they?”

Psaki responded, “I don’t have any more updates to provide for you, Matt.”

Lee, frustrated, followed up, “So the Cubans don’t actually have to do anything?”

Psaki answered, “Matt, no. This is something they’ve agreed to. I would point you to them for any updates on the number of people or the people have been released.”

Mary O'Grady in the Wall Street Journal has a few questions about the Cuba opening for the president that might make him a tad uncomfortable:

Mr. Obama was destined to have trouble changing Cuba policy. Nixon went to China. But “Obama goes to Havana”? That sounds like stand-up comedy. A man with some humility might have prepared for the challenge. Mr. Obama did not. Now, little by little, what he says he got in the “negotiations” seems to be evaporating while what he gave away appears reckless.

The U.S. president hasn’t gone to Havana, not yet anyway. But he did use the prisoner swap to announce that he plans to unconditionally open diplomatic relations with the military dictatorship, something that the Castros have long demanded. Count that as concession one.

He said he would ease restrictions on American travel to the island and make it legal to use U.S. credit cards and debit cards in Cuba, thereby boosting revenues for the military-owned tourism industry. That’s concession two.

His promise to review Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror sounded like he had already made up his mind. “At a time when we are focused on threats from al Qaeda to ISIL, a nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction,” Mr. Obama said.

That would complete the concession trifecta. Cuba still supports the FARC, the Colombian terrorist group, it got caught in 2013 trying to smuggle weapons through the Panama Canal to North Korea, and credible intelligence analysts say Cuba has provided Venezuela the technology it needs to falsify identities for Middle East terrorists.

Remind me to ask Obama to sell me my next car.  With negotiating skills like this, I might end up getting it for free.

If his administration negotiated this kind of a deal with Cuba, what do you think a final deal with Iran will look like?