US-Cuba Discuss Alan Gross & Fugitives

During Migratory Talks in Washington D.C.

Wilfredo Cancio Isla   (Café Fuerte)

Alex Lee, head of the US delegation.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban and US representatives held a new round of migratory talks in Washington on Wednesday, reestablished on a quarterly basis in 2009, the US State Department has confirmed.

Though the central issue to be tackled during these talks is the fulfillment of the migratory agreements, a State Department spokesperson declared that the US delegation will express its concerns over the situation of contractor Alan Gross, the poor state of human rights in Cuba and the existence of fugitives from US justice who have taken refuge in Cuba.

It is no accident that, in its declarations concerning the resumption of these talks, the State Department should make mention of such issues as human rights and fugitives from US justice.

The case of Alan Gross, sentenced to 15 years in prison in Cuba, is the main source of friction between the two countries and has hindered progress towards more favorable bilateral relations under the Obama administration.

As for fugitives from US justice, the usual list of criminals sought by the FBI recently swelled with hundreds of individuals implicated in the Medicare fraud and other crimes who fled to the island.

Safe Migration

Cuba’s delegation is headed by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, head of the United States Office of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations (MINREX). In May, Vidal paid an unexpected visit to Washington and met with the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson.

The US delegation is headed by the Deputy Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Alex Lee.

“The scheduled talks do not represent a change in US policy towards Cuba and are of a routine nature,” said a State Department spokesperson. “Continuing to ensure safe, legal and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States is in keeping with our interests of promoting greater freedom and greater respect towards human rights in Cuba.”

During Vidal’s visit in May, the two concurred that the Cuban and US governments “have publicly expressed their interest in normalizing relations through a gradual process, though no concrete steps have been seen for the moment.” The issues addressed by the two officials was not revealed on that occasion.

In the weeks that followed the meeting, however, tensions again began to characterize bilateral relations, after Washington kept Cuba on its annual list of nations that sponsor terrorism and the list of 23 countries with the most severe problems in terms of the trafficking of persons.


14 thoughts on “US-Cuba Discuss Alan Gross & Fugitives

  • July 22, 2014 at 7:29 am
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    Rehmat, you seem like an antisemite.

  • July 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm
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    A detailed timetable for incremental changes on both sides would a good place to start. “You get this for that…and that for this”…a simple formula that needs to be entertained by both governments. But if your government takes on a demanding tone with expectations set in stone, I think one can further expect that very little will change at all. Acceptance of Cuba “as is” will be entirely necessary initially, and paramount to achieving success with your shopping list later.

  • July 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm
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    Dear onbobel777! Here is one of the documents from an appeal by the Cuban 5 spies. I think you need to provide a link to something other than your word to have some credibility dear!

    FILED U.S. COURT OF APPEALS ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
    JUNE 4, 2008 – THOMAS K. KAHN CLERK

    Five agents of the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence who were members of La Red Avispa (in English, “The Wasp Network”) challenge their convictions and sentences for their espionage against the military of the United States and Cuban exiles in southern Florida. A special mission of the Cuban network, Operacion Escorpion, lead to the murder of four men when Cuban military jets shot down two private aircraft over international waters in 1996. Each Cuban agent was convicted of espionage charges, and one agent was convicted of conspiracy to murder, following a trial in Miami that lasted more than six months. Our Court, en banc, affirmed the denial of the Cuban agents’ motions for a change of venue and a new trial and remanded this appeal to this panel for consideration of the remaining issues. United States v. Campa, 459 F.3d 1121, 1154–55 (11th Cir. 2006) (enbanc).

    The Cuban agents raise a host of issues on appeal. The Cuban agents challenge rulings about the suppression of evidence from searches conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, sovereign immunity, discovery of information under the Classified Information Procedures Act, the exercise of peremptory challenges, alleged prosecutorial and witness misconduct, jury instructions, the sufficiency of the evidence in support of their convictions, and several sentencing issues. We conclude that the arguments about the suppression of evidence, sovereign immunity, discovery, jury selection, and the trial are meritless, and sufficient evidence supports each conviction. We also affirm the sentences of two defendants, but we remand in part for resentencing of the other three defendants.

    http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/200117176.opn3.pdf

  • July 12, 2014 at 7:06 am
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    The missing party at the table are the Brothers from Biran. A free press, free speech, legalize other political parties, stop harassing dissidents and freeing political prisoners…which of these do you believe the Castros will be willing to compromise first?

  • July 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm
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    wnd news is a right wing propaganda outlet. the cuban three should be released. right wing miami groups were bombing havana hotels.

  • July 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm
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    Good to hear, Moses. We’re on the same page then. We’ll have to wait to see what happens…but it’s bound to happen. It needs to happen. Even baby steps are better than nothing at all. The time is ripe.

  • July 11, 2014 at 6:25 am
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    These are two very different cases. A trade would be inappropriate.

  • July 11, 2014 at 6:25 am
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    Of course the US is willing to compromise. I would as well. More importantly, the Cuban people are probably willing to compromise. Nonetheless, the Castros remain in charge and freedom and democracy are still a ways off.

  • July 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm
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    To further your speculation, is your government prepared to make compromises on these issues? I know you certainly wouldn’t. And yet you question whether the Cuban government is prepared to make compromises?

  • July 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm
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    Sorry to break it to you ronbobel777 dear!!

    WND NEWS: ‘Wasp Network’ stung in Miami Cuban spies ‘wage war against the people of the U.S.’ – by Toby Westerman – Published: 01/09/2001

    Five members of a 14-member espionage team called “La Red Avispa” — the Wasp Network — are on trial in a Miami federal courtroom following an exhaustive FBI investigation. After breaking up the network’s operations in September 1998, the FBI amassed some 10,000 pages of information on the Cuban espionage cell. Federal agents discovered that, among other projects, the members of the spy network counted planes outside a military base, attempted to send a letter-bomb to an anti-Castro activist, and placed one of their number — employed as a custodian — at the Boca Chica base of the Southern Command to observe military activity there. Of the original 14, four fled and are believed to be in Cuba, five pleaded guilty and five have declared their innocence. Those pleading innocent said they were only keeping an eye on the anti-communist Cuban exiles. Although the ring was engaged in classic acts of espionage, those who pleaded guilty, as well as the defendants standing trial, are not facing charges of spying, but rather are being charged as “unregistered foreign agents.

    http://www.wnd.com/2001/01/7761/

  • July 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm
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    It is interesting to note that the usual Castro government-sponsored media outlets and blogs like CubaDebate or Portal Cubasi published press releases of this meeting yet none of them mentioned the Alan Gross and democracy issues. Is this to be taken to mean that for the Castros these issues are not newsworthy or that the Castros have no intention of making compromises on these issues?

  • July 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm
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    free gross in exchange for the three of the remaining cuban five in prison. they were here to infiltrate exile terrorist groups.

  • July 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm
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    So what’s new?

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