Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs - Philip J. Crowley provided information about the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords that were held in Havana yesterday. This was the fourth meeting since Cuba Migration talks resumed in 2009. It was noted that the US delegation raised the case of Alan Gross and called for his immediate release.
Also, it was stated that engaging in these talks underscores the US interest in pursuing “constructive discussions with the Government of Cuba to advance U.S. interests”.
The Cuban delegation was led by Vice Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez Barrera, former chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington DC.
During the meeting, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson reaffirmed that the United States is committed to promoting safe, legal, and orderly migration from Cuba to the US.
Meeting Alan Gross Today
Today Ms. Jabobson was allowed by the Cuban government to meet with Alan Gross the day after she issued a renewed plea for his release.
“This morning Roberta Jacobson had the opportunity to meet with Alan Gross,” Mr. Crowley told journalists in Washington.
The State Department said it had few details about the meeting because Jacobson was still in Havana.
“We remain very concerned about Mr. Gross’s health, and it does bring a sense of urgency to why we believe very strongly he should be released as soon as possible,” Crowley said.
Encouraging Words about Mr. Gross
Based on information from an anonymous State Department official, Paul Haven of the Associated Press is reporting that Washington has heard “encouraging signs from the Cuban government” that Mr. Gross might be tried and allowed to return to the United States.
“I am cautiously optimistic because of things we hear that that would be the case,” said the official. When asked if the optimism was based on direct conversations with the Cuban government over the fate of Alan Gross, the official responded: “Yes.”
The scenario painted by the senior State Department official was the most encouraging sign to date that the case might be nearing a resolution, possibly with Gross being tried, convicted and sentenced to time already served, or granted a pardon or commuted sentence of some sort.
The official cautioned that the encouraging words from Havana won’t mean anything unless the Cuban government follows up, presumably by finally bringing charges against Gross so that a trial can proceed.
“Words are nice and they are important, but in the end we have to see actions,” the official said.
“We have to see things happen to believe it is going to take place.”