|Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro in May 2002. See more photos|
Carter will likely:
- Say something positive about the release of dozens of political prisoners in Cuba in recent months.
- Call for an end to U.S. sanctions against Cuba.
- Criticize the U.S. AID programs that sent Alan Gross to jail in Cuba.
- Ask Cuban authorities to free Gross.
That way, Gross's release would be a magnanimous humanitarian gesture, not a concession to the U.S. government. And Cuban authorities wouldn't have to deal with the Gross fiasco anymore. They would not have the burden of such a high-profile prisoner and they could move on.
Of course, it could be that Cuban officials want to hang on to Gross a while longer. Some Castro government supporters don't want him released as long as the Cuban Five are in jail in the U.S.
The Carter visit also gives dissidents and bloggers who oppose the Cuban government a great opportunity to highlight their cause and push for greater freedom. If they make enough noise - and provoke confrontations with police or state security agents - they could embarrass the Cuban government and overshadow Carter's visit.