Wednesday, March 9, 2011

While waiting for a verdict...

  • This Wall Street Journal editorial on the Alan Gross case packs a lot into 300 words. Two factual errors are in the first two sentences (“espionage” charge). Then the case is set up as a challenge to American manhood, as if our national power depends on continuing to match the wits of $585,000 USAID contractors who don’t speak Spanish with those of Cuban state security on Cuban territory. Then the solution: suspend immigrant visas to Cubans until Mr. Gross is freed, then restore them. Talk about bargaining for hostages!

  • A State Department briefing to Congress on the Gross trial is described by the Herald’s Juan Tamayo.


Anonymous said...

I guess the Cuban government is trying to prove that the Alan Gross incident and arrest was no accident and that the US government has been trying to set up parallel satellite dish wifi sites for a long time in Havana.

I frankly do not expect him to be pardoned and do not believe that the Cuban government will let him go to avoid a worsening of the US sanctions.

I believe that the reason the Cuban government is doing this is to justify giving Alan Gross a jail sentence so as to be able to negotiate an even spy swap for the Cuban five.

I suspect there might be more! Perhaps there will also be an encore. The Cuban government might release a video of some sort of an Alan Gross confession in the trial and the testimony of Jewish witnesses as to his "subversive" activities to help create favorable public opinions for a swap.

For me all this brouhaha resembles the discovery process in a civil suit where the lawyers from both sides try to surprise their opponents before getting down to brass tacks and trying to negotiate a favorable settlement for their clients. Maybe there are some negotiations already going on behind the scenes between both governments.

Then there is the public relations angle. Perhaps the Cubans are releasing this video and more to come not only to pressure the the Obama administration but to let it safe face if it agrees to what might be seen by the public as a fair equivalence in a spy and terrorist swap: Alan Gross and several Cuban American armed invaders and convicted American agents in Cuba plus a few political prisoners thrown in for the Cuban five.

However, I do not expect Alan Gross to be treated very severely. The Cuban government will probably subject him to very benevolent conditions of imprisonment and give them ample propaganda to contrast them with the harsh treatment being received by the Cuban five.

I could be mistaken, but I expect him to spend a few months in a five star imprisonment. It will probably be a comfortable house arrest, perhaps in the company of his wife and family with good food and medical treatment and with unlimited access to US consular officials, US congressmen and Senators, the Jewish press and the Cuban Jewish community.

Expect press reports of his participation in Jewish Sabbaths and holidays in the main Havana Synagogue.

This will all help keep the matter before the public eye and keep the US government in an uncomfortable position.

Remember the objective will be to pressure the US government into seeking negotiating a spy swap and I think that the Cuban government has a good chance of achieving it.

In the matter of using public relations to mold public opinion and press the US government for a favorable settlement, Fidel Castro is an accomplished master, a true evil genius!

Let us not forget he relishes the role of tormenting the US government and that he loves the limelight.

Keeping Alan Gross imprisoned in five star conditions will allow him to do both things.

So I expect that he will not miss this opportunity. Parodying Abba Eban's oft quoted words about the the Palestinians, Fidel Castro never misses the opportunity to seize an opportunity! So I expect him to play his usual tormentor's role to the hilt!

All of us should also seize this opportunity to see the world's most talented politician and demagogue at work and to see whether age has affected his talents or strengthened them as it occurs with wine and whiskey!

The fact that we dislike what he stands for should not make us appreciate his consummate political talent and the fact that as a newspaper editor once said about him, "Wherever he goes, whatever he does, whatever he says, this guy is news!"

Remember that he also has the temperament of a talented theatrical performer.

So let us just sit back and expect his appearance on stage! I do not think he will disappoint us!

Pantaleon Paticruzado

Anonymous said...

I wasn't able to access the Wall Street Journal article online (past the first sentance or so). Can anybody help me out?

Phil Peters said...

WSJ editorial 3.9.11
Cuba's American Hostage
While Arabs are ousting dictators, it's tyranny as usual in Cuba, where U.S. government contractor Alan Gross went on trial last week for espionage. Or at least that's what the Castro regime said took place. The civilized world doesn't know because the two-day proceeding was held behind closed doors. The regime simply announced that a verdict would soon be delivered, which could condemn the 61-year-old to 20 years in prison.
Mr. Gross stands accused of bringing computer equipment to the island to help Cuban Jews communicate with the diaspora. The dictatorship, which is terrified of the Internet, says Mr. Gross acted "against the integrity and independence" of Cuba. He has been held in Villa Marista prison since December 2009.
One speculation is that Fidel and Raul Castro want to trade Mr. Gross for five Cubans arrested in 1998 and convicted for spying in the U.S. President Obama can't make that trade. Yet the U.S. is not powerless, despite the feeble comments by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley last week that the U.S. has been in "dialogue" with Cuba for the past year and has "raised Mr. Gross's case in every instance."
The language the Castro brothers really understand is financial. Every year the U.S. issues 20,000 permanent resident visas for Cubans to enter the U.S. The program is a safety valve for discontent on the island, and the emigres who join millions of their brethren in the U.S. become new sources of revenue for Cuba when they send remittances home. A message that future visas will depend on the return of Mr. Gross would get the regime's attention.
We warned a year ago that Castro would use this incident to test Mr. Obama, and Mr. Gross's trial is a sign that the regime believes it has nothing to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Phil! I was the one who asked for help in accessing the article.
Watching this along with all of you,

leftside said...

Meanwhile in Texas, the Bush appointed Judge in the Posada Carriles case has thrown out the "Solo fax" that contained references to payments for bombings because supposedly they could not connect the codename "Solo" to Posada Carriles. Nevermind that he is on tape wth Bardach admitting to using that exact name and the handwriting matches. I think this tells everyone you need to know about this judge and this trial.