Humberto Fontova

Trotsky's murderer, Ramon Mercader, for instance, served as Cuba's "inspector of prisons" in the 1960's and was favorite companion of Raul Castro--and especially!—of the starstruck Che Guevara, who had appointed him to the prestigious post. Upon his death in Havana in 1978, the man who hacked Leon Trotsky to death with an ice-axe was buried with honors in the Cuban capitol. Later his ashes were transferred to Moscow.

Nonetheless, the Castro regime never suffered for lack of veneration from “Trotskyists.” Upon the 30th Anniversary of Che Guevara’s death Trotskyist Christopher Hitchens wrote in the New York Times that: “1968 actually began in 1967 with the murder of Che. His death meant a lot to me. He was a role model.” The famously erudite Hitchens was here referring the man who admired and befriended Trotsky’s murderer.

Senator Marco Rubio was among the first to comment on Alan Gross sentence: “With Mr. Gross’ sentencing, the Castro regime has effectively demonstrated the hopeless and dangerous naiveté of this administration’s policy toward the regime. The Obama administration’s insistence on moving forward with policies that put more money in this terrorist-sponsoring regime’s coffers is baffling and runs contrary to everything America should stand for.”

“When it is a question of annihilating the enemy,” pronounced Stalin’s chief prosecutor Andrei Vishinsky, “we can do it just as well without a trial.” Alan Gross was certainly “tried”-- but by some of Vishinsky’s most devoted disciples.

Former political prisoner Armando Valladares, who somehow escaped the firing squad but spent 22 torture-filled years in Cuba’s Gulag, described his trial very succinctly: “not one witness to accuse me, not one to identify me, not one single piece of evidence against me.” Senor Valladares was arrested in 1961 for the crime of refusing to display a pro-Castro sign on his desk. Shortly after his arrival on U.S. shores, Senor Valladares was appointed by Ronald Reagan as U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, a setting where both Fidel Castro and Che Guevara traditionally basked in wild ovations. Modern history records few U.S. diplomatic tweaks as slick, or U.S. ambassadors as effective.

On July 17, 2012 Armando Valladares published a letter to Alan Gross in The Daily Caller. Among its highlights:

Alan P. Gross
Havana, Cuba

Dear friend:

That is how I am compelled to address you, because even though we have never met, we share a common bond: I too lived behind the iron bars now surrounding you in Cuba — in my case for 22 years.

Like you, I was convicted by the Cuban authorities without a single shred of evidence against me.

I have no doubt that your greatest pain right now must be the realization that the U.S. government has turned its back on you. There was a time when the words “I am an American citizen” meant something. It gives me great sadness to say that inside the Communist boot that now tramples upon your dignity is the foot of the American president, Barack Obama.

The more Castro’s thugs oppress you and make your family suffer, the more your jailers torture you, the harder things get for you — the more this administration seeks to reward them with new concessions. Under any previous U.S. administration, Democrat or Republican, you would not still be in jail. The American president, who has made a habit of publicly bowing to foreign powers, bows to your torturers and would-be executioners. Meanwhile, the adult daughter of Cuba’s dictator recently visited the U.S. to applaud and show her support for President Obama. She receives a visa to come to the United States and a Secret Service escort. And you? You suffer the torture of imprisonment.

The Obama administration must step up its efforts to press for your release through its diplomatic channels. Should those diplomatic efforts fail, then they must be followed by real action, including the suspension of flights and remittances to Cuba until such time as you are allowed to return to the United States. If the Obama administration even threatened to do this it is my considered judgment that you would be on the next flight back to your home in Washington, D.C.

Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit