Cuba wrap-up: US fugitives, prisoner swaps, and a spike in illegal immigration
The US Coast Guard reports that illegal migration from Cuba is up; meanwhile, hope is dim that the release of the first 'Cuban Five' from jail would pave the way for Cuba to free American Alan Gross.
As reasonable Cuba watchers were tearing our hair out over US envoy Bill Richardson's failed mission to Cuba, and growing increasingly despairing over the bitter tit-for-tat that followed, two fugitives from American justice were apprehended in Cuba and turned over to US marshals, who then escorted them back to New Jersey where they appeared in court on murder, kidnapping, and arson charges. The two stand accused of killing a 23 year-old man just over one year ago. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's press release thanking Cuban authorities for their cooperation is here (Just kidding). Makes you wonder when Cuba informed US authorities that it had apprehended the two suspects relative to the August release of the 2010 terrorism report (in which the subject of fugitives living in Cuba was not, for the first time in a number of years, included in that report, which I think makes sense – it should be a law enforcement issue.Skip to next paragraph
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Meanwhile, Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon, a tireless advocate for the Cuban Five, advises US authories to pull up a chair and get comfortable if they are waiting for Cuba to release USAID subcontractor Alan Gross unilaterally. Alarcon points out, a trade of Rene Gonzalez, who had nearly finished his term in jail (but is still stuck in the US for three years of supervised release) for Alan Gross, two years in on a 15 year sentence, would not have been equitable. But by that rationale, expecting a trade for the other four of the Five wouldn't be reasonable either.