Cuban Five

A year after he was arrested for celebrating the ex-president's death, a Cuban dissident looks back on the first year without Fidel.
Now that United States and Cuba are preparing to open embassies in each other's countries, what else needs to happen to support the process of détente between the two countries?
The Cold War against Cuba not only made life worse for ordinary Cubans. It also diminished America's own democracy and undermined its lofty spoken commitments to human rights and the rule of law.
Because of the significance of the Cuban exile community in Miami, and the strategic importance of Florida in US elections, no US president has dared to normalize relations with Cuba. Obama has taken a courageous step in shifting US policy toward Cuba.
I know that when it comes to the United States and Cuba, we are all haunted by ghosts. But the only way that I know to make a ghost disappear, is to turn around and face it.
Barack Obama should use his powers as President of the United States and pardon the three Cubans that are still imprisoned. This will have the immediate effect of freeing Alan Gross and improving relations between Washington and Havana.
The handshake between President Obama and Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial service would have made the South African leader smile. It was the latest sign of a gradual thawing in relations between Washington and Havana after a frozen half-century.
For many years now, both governments and assorted international institutions have addressed the fate of both Los cinco and Alan Gross, especially after their corresponding cases reached each country's Supreme Court. In essence, it has turned into a game of Chicken.
Benedict is not the champion of social justice that Pope John was. But now Benedict has the opportunity to show his compassion. After calling for the release of Alan Gross, he should likewise call on Obama to release the rest of the Cuban Five.
The way may be opening for increased U.S.-Cuban ties. The United States has removed all restrictions on Cuban-American travel from the U.S. to Cuba and all limitations on Cuban-American remittances to families on the island.