Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cuba, Alan Gross, and the shadow of the St. Louis

Antisemitism in Cuba, then and now.
Jewish refugees not let into Cuba in 1939 and Jewish man not allowed to leave in 2009

 Seventy years after the events surrounding the voyage of  the St. Louis, when between May 27 - June 6, 1939 Cuban officials extorted desperate Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany then refused them entry leading them to ask for asylum in the United States only to be denied and returned to Europe where many of the refugees died in the holocaust, in Miami Beach survivors gathered to remember on December 13, 2009. 

Evidence emerged in 2012 of the Castro regime's past relationship with Nazis and its present influence in Venezuela and the rising antisemitism there.  Scholars have also documented the links between the dictatorship in Cuba and the rise of international terrorism and its role in backing the Palestinian Liberation Organization and other movements in their attacks on Israel.

What was still unknown at the time of the St. Louis survivors gathering was that a Jewish American, Alan Gross, had been arrested in Cuba ten days earlier on December 3, 2009 and denied consular access for 25 days. The official reason for Gross's imprisonment: trying to provide uncensored internet access to the local Cuban Jewish community. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has confirmed that Alan Gross has been arbitrarily detained and should be immediately released. The real reason is that he is a hostage being used as a bargaining chip by the dictatorship in Cuba to obtain the release of Cuban spies arrested on U.S. soil for espionage that involved planning terrorist attacks, gathering information on military bases and an act of state terrorism that led to the deaths of civilians.

The shadow of the St. Louis continues to hang heavy over Cuba as another Jewish victim suffers at the hands of a regime with a long history of antisemitism.

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