Cuba Politics

Encouraging signs Alan Gross to be freed from Cuba

Posted January 13, 2011 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

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.”

Member Comments

On January 13, 2011, publisher wrote:

No question this is positive news about Ms. Jacobson being allowed to meet Alan Gross. Right there, that is an “action” by the Cuban government.

So, whether this is a forced trial balloon or if it is actually true, I guess the ball is now in Cuba’s court.

History would lead one to believe that this is all just words and that nothing will change but IF Raul is in charge and IF Fidel Castro stays on the sidelines then MAYBE Alan Gross can be released.

Then MAYBE President Obama can muster up some courage to EASE Cuba travel restrictions on all Americans.

So, MAYBE something MIGHT happen but again, history would lead us to believe otherwise.

On January 13, 2011, publisher wrote:

Reuters is now reporting

“the Cuban government now expected Gross to be charged and tried.”


A Western diplomat in Havana said on Thursday Gross would likely plead guilty at a trial in the next few weeks and then be sent back to the United States.


This is certainly more encouraging news for Mr. Gross and US Cuba relations.

On January 14, 2011, Pedro Animala wrote:

Whether agent Gross is let go by the Cuban government or not, it’ll have no impact in relations. Cuban can take a 100 steps to try improve relations, yet miami’s mafia, and its congressional delegation, will continue finding excuses to maintain the status quo (it enriches them). Mr Obama lacks the pair needed to make bold policy changes, be it Cuba related or not.

On January 14, 2011, publisher wrote:

Today I’m reading that Ms. Jacobson met with the Bush government supported Cuban dissidents Martha Beatriz Roque, Hector Palacios, Laura Pollan, and Felix Bonne among others while in Havana.

To me this is shameful. These dissidents have been tainted by years of interaction with the likes of the non-Ambassador James Cason. So meeting with them has now tainted Ms. Jacobson’s entire trip to Havana.

Does anyone from the US actually know how to deal with the Castro government and not look stupid everytime they try to engage Cuba?

Of course the Cuban government is upset about this So the Cuban government lets Ms. Jacobson meet with Alan Gross and she says thank you by meeting with these people?

What a shame.

On January 14, 2011, publisher wrote:

Meant to add that Ms. Jacobson has NOTHING to gain by meeting with these dissidents and EVERYTHING to lose.

Her meeting with them shows Cuba that the policies of the Bush Adminstration are alive and well and that President Obama, like all US Presidents before him, have no idea how to deal with Cuba.

Now if Ms. Jacobson met with Oswaldo Paya or Yoani Sanchez, I would give her much more credit.

I don’t think that would be appropriate for this meeting either but at least it would scream George Bush policy.

On January 14, 2011, bernie wrote:

a. gross is a jew who violated Cuban law, committing a crime you have to do the time????
The US has rules like this, remember the 5 Cubans
years ago they are still in prison, also the jewish
spy pollard who israel is pleading to obama to release??? Also how about freeing the prisoners down in Guantanamo???? How about freeing me so I can travel to Cuba??????????

On January 20, 2011, Eric,NYC wrote:

AWESOME COMMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cannot expound on that because I am sure I will be banned !!! KUDOS !!

On January 25, 2011, Yeyo wrote:

Agent Gross??? Gross the jew???
That guy was trying to connect with the few Jews that remain in Cuba and for that he is an Agent?
An agent of what?
By the way Publisher I agree that President Obama, like all US Presidents before him, have no idea how to deal with Cuba. Obviously the first point is the embargo tha should be remove inmediately because is doing more in favor of the Castros than against.
However I do feel that Ms. Jacobson and any US representative should be free to meet with the whole spectrum of the government and dissiliency to have an idea of what is going on.

On January 25, 2011, publisher wrote:

When the President only gets advice from the old Cuban exiles in Miami and New Jersey and dissidents paid by USAID, obviously he is not getting the clear picture.

The Jewish community in Cuba came out and said that Alan Gross was not there helping them.

So, maybe they are lying but I get the sense that they wanted to come out to be clear that Alan Gross’ story was not accurate.