"We are powerless in a foreign country." This was the response from the U.S. representative of the embassy in Israel to the jailed American reporter who was aboard one of the boats that tried to enter Gaza. The ambassador didn't come to visit the fellow American, only a representative from the embassy.
Roberta Jacobson told senators during her confirmation hearing that the administration, through diplomatic channels, would do whatever it could to get Alan Gross released.
What makes the U.S. government believe, or pretend, that without official diplomatic relations with Cuba, it would be in any position at all to secure the release of Mr. Gross? According to the response given to the jailed American reporter in Israel, with which the United States has a seemingly unconditional friendship with, including financial and military ties, the U.S. is powerless in a foreign country!
If the United States wanted to, it could see Mr. Gross back home with his family quickly. He is no more human than the five Cubans who have been imprisoned for over a decade after what the U.S. claims with a straight face as being a fair trial in Miami. Mr. Gross has even expressed a desire for himself to be traded for the five Cubans. Instead, the U.S. finds him to be a convenient excuse not to change its stance towards the island. The excuse is more necessary than ever since while President Obama's claims of not seeing any change on the island is contradicted by Freedom House's most recent published report (Freedom House is one of the groups that takes our tax dollars to come up with unfavorable reports based on interviews with ordinary Cuban people on the island) and the remarkable comment by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns. Burns said "Cuba appears to have taken a positive step by allowing its citizens to buy and sell homes," which is an admission of things changing and recognition of something positive.
OK. I know that by reading the inside of my passport I am subject to the laws of the countries that I visit. I also know that there are political issues that affect the U.S.' willingness or unwillingness to help its citizens being held in other countries. For that reason I am willing to state that I find it unbelievable that the U.S. is doing what Roberta Jacobson claimed during her confirmation hearing. Any observer, whether it be the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles or a congressman who probably doesn't support the embargo, would agree that a swap for the Cuban five for Alan Gross could happen. The problem isn't that the United States is powerless, it is that is lacking the political will to break free from the influence of the extremists in Miami.
Once the clownish extremists are brushed aside as they should be, the people of the U.S. and Cuba, as well as their respective governments, can begin a cooperative relationship that is mutually beneficial and could potentially have a positive impact for the people of the entire hemisphere.