Friday, March 25, 2011

Carter visit: A graceful way out of the Alan Gross fiasco?

Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro in May 2002. See more photos
Jimmy Carter's visit to Havana next week can only help Cuba's socialist government.
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.
If that scenario plays out, Cuban authorities could then release Gross sometime soon as a favor to Carter, who has been a friend to Cuba.
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.


Anonymous said...

Why do you see the imprisonment of Alan Gross as a burden to the Cuban Government? I see him as a negotiating card. The US has five Cuban hostages in US prisons, now Cuba has Alan Gross. You can read my thoughts on the matter here:

alongthemalecon said...

I agree with you that Gross is a negotiating card. He is also a burden, a responsibility, because if he were to die in prison, I would imagine that U.S. officials would take stronger action against Cuba.

Anonymous said...

What like, an economic blockade? Spending millions of dollars per year trying to undermine and bring down the Cuban Government? Oh yes, they've been doing that for the last fifty years already.

Cuba does not have much to lose, in my opinion.

alongthemalecon said...

I see your point.