Thursday, February 21, 2013

A talk with Raul

AP: Members of a U.S. Congressional delegation visited jailed USAID contractor Alan Gross during a three-day visit that concluded yesterday.  The delegation was led by Senate President pro tempore Patrick Leahy and included three other senators and two House members.  The entire group kept a low press profile.  There was a three-hour meeting with Raul Castro.  Cuban media coverage was front-page and just-the-facts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I speculate also that the Cuban side is liable to have a more rigid negotiating position.

They are basically not willing to countenance any solution that does not give them their five spies back and they would also be intereste in receiving a promise taht the US govrnment will not continue to try to set up mesh networks in the island.

In order to get this they are prepared to offer some additional political prisoners and/or CIA spies to go along Mr. Alan Gross and carry out a more balanced prisoner exchange an may be even willing to throw in some additional measures to reduce political repression in the island.

The Cuban government is, of course, interested in the other goodies the US is dangling in front of them.

However, judging from their usual lack of trust in US promises, I would think that they believe that "A bird in hand is worth ten in the bush" and are solely concerned in providing and obtaining immediate benefits from the present negotiation.

The other goodies might not have much negotiating leverage with the Cuban government officials because they believe that these promised measures would be as much in the US interest as their own and also that they consider them long overdue and very likely to be approved very quickly after the present imbroglio is settled.

So they are very likely to want to concentrate on the immediate business at hand and leave other matters for future negotiations and thus not risk giving something at present for some expected future benefits that fails to materialize an run the danger that goal posts are moved and some new conditions are sought in order to comply with earlier promises.

I stand by my earlier predictions that the final solution of the imbroglio will involve a multilateral prisoner exchange involving similar numbers from both sides and that it will be followed with further measures in a short period of time to alleviate the embargo.

Perhaps this visit of the Senators and Congressmen to the island served to reduce the differences between the negotiation positions of both sides and an agreement to solve the Alan Gross- Five spies gridlock is only a short time away.

Such an agreement would represent a first laurel for the brow of Senator John Kerry who has been
recently named Secretary of State and who has been previously interested in the solution of this issue.

So I am cautiously optimistic that something is in the works.