Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Odds and ends

  • The Boston Globe calls for a “new diplomatic agenda with Cuba” beginning with ending “the silly claim, reinstated by the Obama administration last summer, that Cuba remains a ‘state sponsor of terrorism.’”

  • Reuters on the search for a partner to expand the Cienfuegos refinery, a project where the Chinese showed interest but have not bought in.

  • Diario las Americas gets the first interview with Pedro Alvarez, the former Alimport chief who defected in 2010 and now lives in Tampa.

  • “People who don’t believe strongly in immigration, they’ve lost confidence in the greatness of America,” says former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, a Cuban American trying to show his party the light on immigration.  He is profiled in the Washington Post.

  • AP’s Andrea Rodriguez on how Venezuela’s Telesur, now on Cuban television 12 hours a day, has changed Cuban’s media mix for the better.

  • Tracey Eaton has a redacted version of the classified annex of the Bush Administration’s Cuba transition commission report from July 2006, much of which has been declassified.  You can’t make a full judgment since parts of it are blacked out, but it’s not as interesting as one might expect.  

  • In the Herald, from the guy who ran the USAID program that sent Alan Gross to Cuba: Gross’ predicament is all Castro’s fault, if you question the program you are aligned with the Cuban government, and the program has a “measure of tolerance for losses and failed initiatives” in places such as Cuba.  So suck it up, Alan. 


Anonymous said...

Mr. Cardenas,
You are missing the point. You are trying to force an open door. You do not have to defend the US Democracy Program so vehemently.
Many Cubans would agree that this program is necessary and that, if it had been run efficiently, that it could have helped to expedite a democratic transition in Cuba.
What is being discussed is whether this program was being run efficiently or not and whether the persons who are ran it had the necessary honesty and expertise to run it in a manner that benefitted the Cuban democratic transition.
The recent criticism on the program has been focused on the efficiency that was shown in designing, implementing and supervising the project that resulted in Alan Gross’ arrest.
Since you served as acting assistant administrator for Latin America at the U.S. Agency for International Development, many of us believe you had a great deal of responsibility in designing, approving, and supervising the program that Alan Gross was contracted to carry out.
This program had the objective of creating mesh networks in Cuba.
Such networks require placing several BGANS receiving and transmitting facilities in an urban area that could then be used by a wirelessly connected network of laptops and cell phones to communicate with the internet through satellites.
Since the laptops and cell phones in the mesh networks would avoid using the Cuban government’s internet service providers, the users of such a network could not be censored, spied upon, identified, or supervised.
Thus not be sanctioned for the information they uploaded to, or downloaded from, the internet or for the content of the messages they sent or received.
We would like you to answer the following questions about this mesh network program:


Anonymous said...

1- Why was Mr. Gross asked to position the BGANS necessary for such a network in territory under the jurisdiction of the Cuban government instead of in sites in Havana protected by diplomatic immunity?
2- Couldn’t the BGANS installed in sites under diplomatic immunity have allowed the mesh network to function just as well as those that could be placed in territory under Cuban government jurisdiction without incurring in the unnecessary risk of having those that operated and installed them being arrested and the equipment in question being seized by the Cuban security services?
3- Why couldn’t the equipment in question have been brought into the country through the diplomatic mail instead of running the risk of having Gross or innocent ignorant Jewish tourists smuggle it in under the vigilant eyes of the Cuban custom inspectors?
4- Why was the installation and maintenance of such equipment not entrusted to technicians employed in foreign embassies and consulates and enjoying diplomatic immunity instead of being outsourced to a Jewish American technician who would have to enter the country on numerous occasions for such purposes and who, for this reason, would necessarily draw the attention and be placed under the observation of the Cuban security services?
5- In your opinion, didn’t the manner that the project to install mesh networks in Cuba was designed and implemented expose Mr. Alan Gross to risks that were totally unnecessary and that could have easily been avoided?
6- Why was Mr. Gross sent to Cuba on five different occasions?
7- Didn’t his frequent visits to the island probably increase the surveillance that the Cuban security services placed on him and the risks that he faced?
8- What was the reason that such unnecessary risks were assumed?
9- Was Mr. Gross’ project designed and implemented in this fashion out of sheer ineptitude or in an intentional manner with the express purpose of getting Mr. Gross arrested to prevent further negotiations for the betterment of relations between the Cuban and the US government and to drive a wedge between the Cuban government and progressive Jewish groups in the US that favored the amelioration or ending of the embargo?
10- Either way do you feel that you and the other persons who decided on the design and implementation and supervision of this project acted in an honest, intelligent and apt manner?
11- Did you have any hidden intentions in proceeding in the manner you selected?


Anonymous said...

12- Did you and the other officials responsible for this project foresee the possible end results of this project if, due to the excessive risk involved, Mr. Gross was apprehended?
13- Were you aware that if apprehended, Mr. Gross could be used as a bargaining chip for the release of the five Cuban Agents arrested in the US?
14- Did you foresee that as a result of such an arrest the implantation of a mesh network in Cuba would be at the very least be retarded and could possibly be even prevented if this is one of the negotiated conditions for Gross’ release?
15- Did you foresee that the lack of a mesh network in the country would slow down its democratic transition and would seriously hinder obtaining further positive results in the US Democracy Program for Cuba?
16- Whether the arrest of Mr. Gross was result of gross ineptitude or of a provocation, do you believe that the US government has a moral responsibility to negotiate his release because this project subjected him to a totally unnecessary degree of personal risk?
17- Should the US government refuse to negotiate a solution for his release or should it seek for an acceptable and honorable negotiated solution to free him?
18- What possible solutions would you suggest be explored for this purpose?
19- Who were the other persons involved in the design, implementation and supervision of Mr. Gross’ project?
20- What degree of personal responsibility do you and the other persons involved in this project have and should each of them be sanctioned by the US government in some manner for their part in it?
21- Do you believe that Alan Gross’ family should be allowed to sue the US government institutions and /or the contractors or subcontractors and/or the officials in all these entities that were involved in a project that submitted him to excessive risks that were totally unnecessary?

I really would appreciate your answers to these concerns.
Yours truly,

Anonymous said...

fter all don't we owe these persons a bit of human solidarity?

Let's also remember we have a duty to get Alan Gross out of the fix Cardenas and his buddies got him into by making him run totally uncalled for and unnecessary risks.

If none of this pans out I would make a final suggestion, the US government should offer the Cuban government to exchange Joe Cardenas for Alan Gross.

In that way we can kill two birds with one stone, we could fix the immediate imbroglio and we could also sanction Joe for whtever lies behind this project, his utter stupidity or his evil intentions to create a provocation that would prevent better relations between both governments.

I'm sure that if this suggestion is given some serious thought Old Joe would stop making up excuses and rapidly cough up some interesting ideas about how to fix the situation he created.