Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

US Senator from Illinois Dick Durbin apparently went to Cuba for a short trip to talk to the Cuban government and others about Cuba’s oil drilling and Alan Gross.

According to a statement from the Senator’s office, “The trip has focused on changes in Cuba—including Cuba’s substantial offshore drilling proposal—as well as discussions on improved relations between the US and the island nation”.

I was unable to find the statement at Senator Durbin’s official website.

The AFP article says that Durbin, the second-highest ranking member of the Senate and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, met with “Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez; National Assembly speaker Ricardo Alarcon; Archbishop Jamie Ortega; members of the international diplomatic community, the staff of the US Interests Section and Cuban reformers”.

WOW. That’s a pretty large and diverse group of people.

So, a very high ranking Senator, from President Obama’s home state, flies to Cuba unannounced and meets with Rodriguez, Alarcon, Archbishop Ortega, “members of the international diplomatic community” and “Cuban reformers”???

I would LOVE to know more about these “Cuban reformers” that Durbin met with this week and why now? Did President Obama ask him to go? Does oil have anything to do with this?

New campaign to release the Cuban Five

I’m sure it is no coincidence that just yesterday there is now a new “international campaign for the release of the Cuban Five” launched by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five that will feature a “postcard and poster campaign” that will be distributed in the United States.

The campaign expects to print 50,000 postcards and 10,000 posters. Also the campaign also hopes to put up billboards, banners and big signs in public spaces and has plans for a number of projects that will include conferences and other marketing opportunities.

What do I think?

I have not followed the Cuban Five case closely but I do get the sense the trials may have been somewhat unfair but all the appeals have been denied. So, I say they are guilty… perhaps the prison sentences were too harsh but the appeals process is done and they are in jail to serve their sentences. Should Obama release the Cuban Five for Alan Gross? Absolutely not.

Is Alan Gross guilty? Yes. He is guilty of stupidity AND crimes against the sovereignty of Cuba. Should the Cuban government release Alan Gross? Yes for humanitarian reasons but Alan Gross will not be free until Fidel Castro allows it or until Fidel Castro dies… and Fidel Castro will not allow it.

Here is a cartoon I had made back when Secretary Clinton tried to get Alan Gross released:

What do you think?