Friday, September 14, 2012

“We need to sit down and negotiate”

I noted the other day that Alan Gross’ new lawyer, Jared Genser, has filed a petition with a UN body seeking a judgment that Gross is victim of “arbitrary detention.”

In a statement (pdf), Genser has also called for an independent doctor to examine Gross.  He also questions Cuba’s just-reiterated willingness to discuss ways to get Gross released, saying that “Cuban government officials have been unwilling to put a concrete proposal on the table.”  Of course, there is no “table” because there are no talks.  (See State Department views in this AP story.)

Meanwhile, Judy Gross, wife of Alan Gross, gave an interview to our friend Mauricio (audio here) on his radio program where she evinces a more normal understanding of how negotiations work: first the two sides meet, then they decide if there is a basis for making proposals and counterproposals. 

“I desperately need the U.S. government to do more,” she says, noting that “the U.S. government sent Alan on this project to Cuba” and citing U.S. officials’ “moral obligation to try as hard as they can.”  “If they don’t press for Alan’s freedom and sit down and talk with President Castro he’s not going to come home,” she says, noting that talks should be tried regardless of anyone’s doubts about Cuban intentions.  “We need to try as much as we can to sit down and negotiate.”


Antonio said...

I really hope there is a negotiation. Such things are more likely to happen when there is a change in the White House, which is increasingly appearing unlikely, so we will probably end up with more of the same for another 4 years.

Anonymous said...

I do not mean to be cynical, but, due to its possible impact on the Jewish vote during the US election, the most favorable moment to negotiate Alan Gross's release would be just before elections when the impact of the release is having a maximum effect.

How much before? The time it normally takes for an event to be displaced from the front pages by other news,

However the US governmentwould have to be willing to make a deal that would involve all the five Cuban spies.

However, this deal must not make Obama look weak in the eyes of the average voter taking into account possible hostile Republican criticism.

So in order to get off the ground the prospective deal should allow Obama to get back in return the freedom of an adequate number of Cuban opposition figures or CIA agents.

To make Obama look good, something the Cuban government is interested in, the hypothetical deal in question should involve a higher number of Cuban prisoner releases or a pre-electoral Gross release coupled with a post electoral presidential amnesty for the five Cuban spies or a combination of numerical and temporal advantages for Obama.

This is just speculation, but it is hard to believe that US and Cuban politicians will miss the opportunity to cook up a deal that would make them both look good.

Politics being politics and political figures trying to do the utmost to be re-elected such a speculation is not highly improbable.

The deal might have even been closed sometime ago but is waiting to be announced at the moment when it has the highest possible political impact.

The key objective being, not to get Gross liberated as quickly as possible, but to make sure that Obama gets the highest possible additional number of votes for liberating him.


Antonio said...

Hey Anon,
Whatever gain of Jewish votes in Florida that Obama might get would be minimal compared to the Cuban American backlash from making a deal with Cuba.

Anonymous said...

The fact that our first priority should be to find a way to exchange Alan Gross and a group of cuan political prisoners and CIA agents for the five Cuban spies in order to continue negotiating the gradual lifting of the embargo in exchange for measures that will lead eventually to a democratic transition in Cuba should not make us lose sight of the fact that whoever was running the inauguration of the mesh network in Cuba made a total mess out of it.

As I've commented before, he subjected Alan Gross to innecessary risks since the necessary bgans could have been isntalled in places under diplomatic immunity without risks of any sort.

So as a follow up measure, all those people responsible for this boner should be fired for ineptitude.

No more unnecessary risks should be run. We must make sure that they will not commit similar faux pas in the future.

This is specially true if there are plans for the mesh network program to be renewed in Cuba once Alan Gross is recovered.

Once someone gives such evident evidence of ineptitude the should not be given an opportunity for an encore.

As the saying goes, "Once bitten, twice shy!"

Before getting out of this situation, let us make sure that a similar error is not made in the future by getting rid of those responsible for the present snafu.

I notice a great deal of emphasis being placed on getting Gross back but very little on holding those responsible for the error accountable.

This is not logical but very human. As john F. Kennedy said when recognizing his own responsibility after the Bay of Pigs, "Victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan!"

But this human weakness leads to future errors. As the Cuban sayings go, "El hombre es el único animal que choca dos veces con la misma piedra!" "Esos polvos condujeron a este lodazal!"


Anonymous said...


The Cuban American reaction in Florida would depend on what Obama got back in return.

If he obtained the release of an equal number of Cuban political prisoners and former CIA agents I am sure that the backlash would be minimal.

And whatever the magnitude of the possible backlash it would be more than offset by the positive effect such a result would have among the Jewish voters.

The Jewish vote has much more importance for Obama than the Cuban American one that is usually Republican anyway.

Besides the Cuban american backlash could be minimized if an agreement is reached to free Gross and the other Cuban Amerian political prisoners before the November elections and the five cuban agents afterwards no matter what the results of the elections are.

Even if he loses the election, Obama would have the power to amnesty prisoners until the next inauguration.

When there is a will to reach an agreement, a solution could be found for nearly all obstacles.

The question is whether there is a political will to reach such a mutually satisfactory agreement.

I suspect there is and that if te will exists the timing and conditions of the agreement will be taylored to give each side what it seeks.

The totalitarian Cuban regime will get its five agents back and Obama will recieve the maximum political advantage in the November elections.

Si hay arreglo debe haber dulce (ventajas) para todos Antonio.