The Cuban government has demonstrated that it continues to be hostile not only to American values, but to the values of all free societies. The Cubans have sent spies into our nation. They have made alliances with Iran and Venezuela, nations firmly and boisterously opposed to America and our ideals. Domestically, the Cuban government has done nothing to loosen its grip on its oppressed people.

As a nation vehemently opposed to human rights violations, America cannot make an exception to Castro’s Cuba. America should not treat the current Cuban government as if it is willing to compromise. America must recognize that Cuba is set in its ways – it is a country desperately in need of a new government and a new way forward.

The imprisonment of Alan Gross should be offensive to all Americans. Alan Gross is one more name on a long list of those who have suffered under Castro’s Cuba. So many Cuban-Americans have a fascinating story to tell, about the oppression they and their family experienced in Cuba and the life they have made in America.

It has been almost two years since Cuban authorities arrested Alan Gross. The time has come to abandon our conciliatory attitude to the Castro regime. We must stand with our compatriot Alan Gross and with all the Cubans we have welcomed to America in condemning Castro’s Cuba for what it is:  an oppressive and antiquarian regime that we cannot and must not tolerate.

Buerkle represents New York’s 25th Congressional District. She serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as a Congressional Representative to the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly.