By Álvaro Fernández
Let me begin by telling you that I was one who believed 2014 would be a very good year for you and three others still in prison. This letter is to inform you that that light of hope is beginning to flicker.
Of course I would love to see you back home. I wish the same for the three remaining members of the Cuban Five still in U.S. prisons. But your chances grow slimmer the more I listen to the president and all others who fall in line behind him.
I bet you were excited when you heard the news of the past week. President Obama had traded five, who have been described as very dangerous, Afghan Taliban guerrilla leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. That’s right, five for one…
Still… you wait in a Cuban prison – for your commander in chief to take action. But you’re not a soldier, making your case different, we’ve been told. You’re simply an American citizen. By the way, the differentiation is not my take, those are words uttered by a spokesperson for the State Department, Jen Psaki. I guess this State Dept. fact makes you less important…
Your wife has led a brave campaign that demonstrates you really were a U.S. soldier, but instead of guns you carried military-grade, sophisticated telecommunications equipment. On paper you worked – although indirectly – for the U.S. government. But they’ve ignored poor Judy.
By the way, I’m a Taurus too. Born in May, just like you. And I read where you said you would not be alive by your next birthday. Your exact words were: “On May 2, I turn 65 years old and it will be my last birthday here.”
Not that I want you to die. To the contrary. Like I mentioned earlier I’d like to see you home with your wife and daughter. But if you claim that last month’s birthday was your final one in Cuba, then you better start getting your affairs in order.
The way I’m looking at this right now, if it’s up to the President and the U.S. Congress, you will probably perish in a Cuban prison.
And let me insist that it won’t be Cuba’s fault. Although Cuba will ultimately be blamed. In fact, I am starting to believe that your death is what the U.S. government wants. The ‘Alan Gross dies in a Cuban prison’ headline would be a propaganda coup for a whole bunch of people who don’t think much of you.
Yep. You’ve become a pawn in a political game. Notice I called you a pawn. Not even a rook or a knight.
The fact is that the president of the United States, his secretary of state, members of the U.S. Congress and a host of other people who labor for the U.S. government don’t seem to care much about you. They’ve demonstrated it over the past five years.
Sorry to be so blunt Mr. Gross, but it’s time you faced the facts. And like I said, start getting your things in order. Because if you’re serious about what you said, then by my next birthday, less than two weeks after yours, I promise to remember you, maybe say a prayer, for the gentleman who died in a Cuban jail because his government, and its president, did not bother to save him.
They could at least pretend, don’t you think? For example, the Cuban government has bent over backwards and frontwards and even sideways in an attempt to talk to U.S. government officials about your case. They’ve been ignored.
Jeez… in the America I thought I believed in persons like you are not left to rot. Because I keep asking myself, “What can you lose because of a simple conversation?”
Then again, there are members of congress, let’s start with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, who insist and in fact threaten the president if he dares to negotiate with the Cuban government. Here’s another question for you: “If Obama doesn’t negotiate, how’s he gonna save you?”
In other words, they want you dead. In the case of the four I mentioned, it would be a feather in their caps, especially with some of their voters – it would give them more reason to hate the Castros. And that translates to votes in some districts in this country.
But let’s be perfectly honest here. And I’ll start by stating that I voted for Obama – twice. If he’d run a third time… I would probably refrain from voting for him. Which, by the way, does not mean I would vote for the likes of Marco Rubio or even a Mitt Romney. Just wouldn’t cast a vote. Something I take very seriously.
Because Barack has had a tough time with a racist congress, I understand. But areas he’s able to control, use the power of the presidency, he’s usually punted. I’m not sure if its political cowardice, or whether he really believes he’s doing the right thing waiting for the other side to come around… The fact is that I’m tired of waiting for him.
So let me finish by stating that I hope I am totally wrong on this. I hope the president proves me wrong. I promise to write him a letter of apology if he does.
But based on the experience of the past five and one-half years, and if I was you, like I advised, start getting your affairs in order.
Sorry to bring you bad news. But somebody has to.
Alvaro F. Fernandez