Something’s Cooking in Cuba & Washington

Fernando Ravsberg

Alan Gross, photo:

HAVANA TIMES, August 12 — If you’re going to spy on the United States, I recommend that you do it for countries like Israel or Russia.  It seems that these nations have struck up some type of “exchange agreement” with Washington whereby if their operatives are caught by the FBI, they’re quickly returned to their country.

In such cases, the American justice system does not intervene, and if some judge mistakenly does so, the charges disappear as soon as the White House and the Kremlin reach an agreement on how many of your agents for how many of mine.

What’s not so good is when espionage takes place between Cuba and the US.  Here, realism and the good customs cease.  To begin with, no one accepts the fact that their spies are spies; to the contrary, all of them are presented as humanitarian activists.

The members of Havana’s Red Avispa (Wasp Network) —convicted and sentenced by US courts to harsh prison terms— are referred to on the island as the “the Five Heroes,” arguing that their task was only to report on violent actions organized from Miami against Cuba.

On the other hand, Washington is selling us the story that Alain Gross converted into some sort of missionary who traveled secretly to Cuba with the noble task of helping the Jewish community connect to the Internet – is an information advocate.

He is described as a mere “contractor,” giving a neutral connotation to his activities.  Notwithstanding, contractors normally don’t belong to peace forces, to the contrary, more than 100,000 of them are in Afghanistan carrying out military and intelligence operations.

The good thing for the prisoners on both sides is that their governments have not ceased in their efforts to rescue them.  For 10 years Havana has been orchestrating campaign after campaign, while in Washington people have remained quite concerned since Gross was captured last year.

The Cuban government even tried to swap the 75 political prisoners of the 2003 government crackdown for its five agents, but the White House refused the deal.  This was a logical attempt on Cuba’s part given the dissidents are doing more harm to the revolution from their jail cells than if they were free.

The situation was such that when the opposition reached its lowest point of activism, the sole flame of hope that remained lit was related to these prisoners; this took the form of regular Sunday marches by the Ladies in White and hunger strikes.

Interest rises when an American is involved

Things have changed however.  A colleague who recently returned from Washington commented to me that all the politicians he spoke to asked him about Alain Gross.  They seem much more interested now that the prisoner is an American.

Free the Cuban Five poster. Photo: Bill Hackwell

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the US would exert pressure on the Cuban government, which caused me to wonder how they planned to do this.  A few days later, one of the five imprisoned agents was punished by sending him to “the hole” for two weeks.

The Cuban parliament screamed foul, decrying that this was not a disciplinary measure by the prison but a directive from the FBI.  Therefore, they demanded Gerardo Hernandez’s immediate return to the “normality” of his cell.

Meanwhile in Cuba, it’s been said that Alain Gross has lost 88 lbs. since he was thrown in jail more than eight months ago.  Even so, Havana knows that when negotiating with Washington, the contractor will “weigh” more than all the Cubans political prisoners together.

In any case, the suffering on both sides could be coming to an end if we pay attention to the certainty with which Fidel Castro just announced that his five imprisoned agents would be returned to Cuba before December of this year.

Such a prediction indicates that something’s cooking, and it could only be an exchange.  Just as it is sure that Alain Gross might be reunited with his loved ones very soon, it is good news for his family as well as those of the five Cubans.

Havana Times translation of the Spanish original authorized by BBC Mundo.

2 thoughts on “Something’s Cooking in Cuba & Washington

  • Here in HavanaTimes

    there is an interview to Fidel Castro is in Spanish only but some of you will be able to glance at an automatic translation of it from Google and appreciate my prior comments
    In his rambling comments he goes from the idea of the nuclear weapon bag to talk about the fall of the “imperialism” in just one month and also something interesting when talking about the coming elections in Venezuela he says

    Sí, tal vez Yes maybe and smiles

    Maybe Chavez is planning not to do elections at all !

    At some point he also mentioned

    Bueno, me mandan a mí para un manicomio, saben (Risas), búsquenme un lugarcito allí.

    Well, send me to a lunatic asylum, (Smiles), find me a place there!

    He has definitely loss some of his marbles he should not be allow to make a ridicule.
    On the other hand who can stop him?
    His brother Raul could be the only person that could possibly stop him, will he?
    He could possible become even more erratic as times goes at a minimum he should be strip of any power he still holds.

  • Well if Fidel’s announcement about the release of the five agents is similar to his prediction about nuclear attack of the US to Iran it all means that the aging leader has lost much of his marbles something that becomes more evident with each apparition on public media. From incoherent statements to getting lost in the middle of a sentence those are the palpable signs of senility. Considering how old he is and the struggle with the decease in his body he has done quite well but on the other hand he is actually undermining Raul who seems to be more pragmatic.

    Maybe for his own good someone should stop him from becoming the Oracle of Cuba! That seem to be the direction he is going with all these predictions.
    Just in case that his predictions do not come to fruition and he gets into some sort of tantrum.
    After all he still holds some power and maybe this is something that should be addressed soon before he does more damage.

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