Alan Gross is a former USAID contractor who has been in a Cuban jail since December 3, 2009. The most recent reports are that he has lost 105 pounds while in prison, and may well be suffering from untreated cancer.
Vilma Rodriguez Castro is the granddaughter of Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and the man now running the communist dictatorship.
They are linked here for one reason: while Gross suffers in a Cuban prison for the crime of helping the tiny Cuban Jewish community get linked to other Jewish communities in the world via the internet, Vilma is partying in New York.
The indefatigable Frank Calzon, who has spent his life fighting for human rights in Cuba, tells me that
according to the Cafe Fuerte blog, Vilma Rodríguez Castro, grand-daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro, is in New York City this week attending the contemporary Latin American art fair, PINTA 2012. She was accompanying her boyfriend, Cuban artist Arlés del Río.
According to witnesses that spotted her last night, she was wearing Chanel shoes, a Louis Vuitton purse and a Rolex watch, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
The natural question is why the State Department granted her a visa. There is no American interest in seeing Castro family members go out on the town in New York, attired in expensive outfits acquired with money essentially stolen from the Cuban people, while Alan Gross sits in prison. Indeed allowing this to happen mocks Gross’s suffering and that of his family. If the facts here are right, the press or the Congress should be asking about our visa policy-- and asking that beneficiaries of the Castro system be denied visas at the very least while our fellow citizen Alan Gross is held prisoner in Cuba. From what I can see, the decision to grant Raul Castro’s granddaughter a visa to come here and party is simply a disgrace.