December 18, 2014
As a former United States Ambassador to Finland, I traveled to Cuba in 2012 with Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in order to gain the release of American prisoner Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds.
As you can imagine, I was delighted to learn this morning of the release of Mr. Gross by Cuban officials. I wish Mr. Gross and his family the best as he returns to life in the United States.
I give special thanks to Cuban Cardinal Jamie Ortega who was instrumental in the release of Mr. Gross. However, the release of three convicted Cuban spies in exchange for someone who never should have been held against his will is very troubling. I believe their release is wrong.
While I disagree with the release of the convicted Cuban spies, I am encouraged to see this first step in the thawing of relations between the United States and our neighboring nation to the south.
Few things are accomplished in the world without taking a forward-looking first step.
I am hopeful this will eventually lead to a better life for the Cuban people, who for too long have lived under an oppressive regime that has prevented their own people from reaching their full potential.
Earle I. Mack served as the U.S. Ambassador to Finland under George W. Bush. Mr. Mack has visited Cuba on three occasions, with his most recent trip in 2012 aimed at freeing Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds. Ambassador Earle I Mack’s post on NewsMax can be found here.