Secretaries of State John Kerry and Archbishop Pietro Parolin (State Department photo)
Will Pope Francis help President Obama to do what he wants to do with Cuba?
Secretary of State Kerry visited the Vatican on January 14th to meet with his counterpart. As reported in the Israeli paper Haaretz, he said:
“We talked also about Cuba and the need for respect for freedom of religion and freedom of, and respect for, human rights,” Kerry told reporters after the meeting.“I raised the issue of Alan Gross and his captivity, and we hope very much that there might be able to be assistance with respect to that issue,” he said.
How’s this for a scenario?: Pope Francis gets Alan Gross freed in exchange for the four Castro spies, and, on top of that, orchestrates the restoration of US/Castro diplomatic ties, along with the lifting of the embargo. And it will all make Obama look so righteous and compassionate rather than weak, all because of the glow lent to the whole deal by Pope Francis’s halo.Such speculation is not far-fetched. Keep in mind that all of these items are linked together, since Gross is often cited by the Obama administration as the greatest obstacle to “reconciliation.”… And don’t forget the the Vatican has easy access to Raul through the reprehensible boot-licking Cardinal Ortega, who has already proven his mettle as a deal-maker who will screw the Cuban people and –at the same time — make all the screwing look like a holy work of mercy.
However, Judy Gross is frustrated with the lack of help she feels she has not gotten from Washington.Gross said in a statement: “I am angry at the U.S. Government for its lack of response in working toward bringing Alan home. For four years, we have had meeting after meeting with the State Department, and the National Security Council. Each meeting ultimately ended the same way with patronizing comments, with empty promises and ultimately with no action … The White House has refused to speak to me or Alan’s legal team for four years. I didn’t even qualify for a form letter one usually gets after writing to the President.“I do know that there are those in Congress with hatred so strong toward Cuba that they are willing to let Alan rot in prison. This way of thinking has failed to bring Alan home for four years and is a death sentence for Alan. … I urge all South Florida residents to send messages and meet with Senator Marco Rubio, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman Ilena Ros-Lethinen and Congressman Mario Dias-Balart. … We need to try something different or Alan will die in prison.”
Democratic political consultant Derek Newton is not as certain about the potency of South Florida’s anti-Castro hardliners.“The dog isn’t as big as it used to be, but it still bites,” said Newton, who works with the November Group in New York and Miami. Embracing engagement with Cuba is still unpopular, but not necessarily life-threatening, he said and it’s fading fast.“This just isn’t an issue that’s on the front burner, except for a very small, very vocal group,” he said. Plus, die-hard anti-Castro voters tend to be hard-core Republicans who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat like Buckhorn anyway, he said.