Senior diplomacy – peanuts for cigars
87 year old Jimmy Carter is on another diplomatic mission. He is in Cuba to try to negotiate retrieval of a USAID worker that was apprehended there in 2009 while establishing internet connections considered being subversive by the Cuban government.
No doubt, the internet is a threat in undemocratic tyrannical dictatorships. Perhaps if “Jimmy” would bring Dell laptop with built in wireless connection and equipped with a go anywhere wireless account he could demonstrate to Fidel and Raul what they are missing. They could have a Facebook page listing all of their atrocities, for instance.
Good luck to President Carter. It is too bad America failed to exploit his diplomatic skills earlier in his career, but he is making good on it now. I think when he turns 90 he will have achieved an affinity with Chinese leadership.
“Jimmy Carter travels to Havana as Cuba, US at odds over imprisoned USAID contractor
By Associated Press, Monday, March 28, 10:33 PM
HAVANA — Former President Jimmy Carter met with religious leaders in Cuba on Monday as he began a trip to discuss economic policies and ways to improve Washington-Havana relations, which are even more tense than usual over the imprisonment of a U.S. contractor on the island.
The Associated Press - ** CORRECTS DATE ** Former President Jimmy Carter arrives to the Jose Marti airport in Havana, Cuba, Monday, March 28, 2011. Carter is in Cuba to discuss economic policies and ways to improve Washington-Havana relations, which are even more tense than usual over the imprisonment of a U.S. contractor on the island. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)
Carter met in the afternoon with leaders of Cuba’s Jewish community but did not say whether he mentioned the case of Alan Gross, who was arrested in December 2009 while working on a USAID-backed democracy-building project he said was meant to help improve internet access for that community.
Cuba says such USAID programs are aimed at overthrowing the government of President Raul Castro.
Emerging from Havana’s Temple Beth Shalom, in dark slacks and a white guayabera shirt, Carter did not take questions from reporters, but said there would be a news conference on Wednesday.
Adela Dworin, president of the temple and Cuba’s largest Jewish organization, the Jewish Community House, said the Gross case did not come up during Carter’s visit and their conversation focused on the Jewish community in Cuba.
“We did not talk about politics,” Dworin said.
Jewish leaders here have denied dealing with Gross, who was working for Bethesda, Maryland-based Development Alternatives Inc.
He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this month for crimes against the state for the illegal importation of telecommunications equipment into the country.
Carter later met for about an hour with Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who helped broker a deal under which Cuba recently freed the last 52 of 75 dissidents who were arrested in a 2003 crackdown and given lengthy prison sentences on charges such as treason. The government considers dissidents to be common criminals financed by the United States.
Many of those freed went into exile, but some have remained on the island and vow to continue their activities. Dozens of other prisoners convicted of violent but politically motivated crimes have also been released.
“Mr. Carter expressed to Cardinal Ortega his pleasure at the process of dialogue that the Church in Cuba conducts with the government of President Raul Castro Ruz, one the results of which has been the release of more than 100 Cuban prisoners,” the archdiocese of Havana said in a statement.”