From the White House: the President’s December 17 statement, a fact sheet, and a background briefing by officials that explains the measures and the secret talks between White House and Cuban officials.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on property claims, an issue whose resolution will one day be part of full economic normalization.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the Senate’s President pro tempore, met twice with Raul Castro in Cuba and pushed the Administration both to resolve the prisoner issues and to fix our policy. His veteran Appropriations Committee advisor, Tim Rieser, held everyone’s feet to the fire and stayed close to Alan Gross, especially after Gross decided to stop receiving visits from U.S. diplomats. Their efforts are profiled in the New York Times and Politico. In November 2013, after the secret U.S.-Cuba talks had begun, Senator Leahy was joined by 65 other Senators in this letter to the President, urging him to take “whatever steps are in the national interest” to achieve Mr. Gross’ release.
Pope Francis pushed both sides to negotiate; Huffington Post reports on this Argentine’s history with Cuba.
President Reagan’s speechwriter Peggy Noonan supports the President’s Cuba actions.
In an incoherent editorial, the Wall Street Journal reiterates its 20-year-old position that the U.S. embargo should be lifted unilaterally but attacks President Obama for doing far less. It welcomes the release of Alan Gross and the U.S. spy, but says that the United States should never “dignify Castro’s regime by sitting down at a negotiating table,” as if such a result could have been obtained in any other way. The paper’s editors themselves received Fidel Castro for a nice, dignified lunch at their own conference table in 1995. I guess that was different, or the late editor Bob Bartley was a commie. The lunch is shown briefly in this video.
Don’t tell Senator Rubio – 81 percent of Americans agree with his view of Fidel Castro, but 63 percent support full diplomatic relations with Cuba and 55 percent want the embargo ended in a new CNN poll.