Photographs of President Obama shaking hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro were followed by news that “quiet diplomacy” between the U.S. and Cuba has been underway for about six months.
According to The Daily Beast, the handshake that caught the world’s attention came after “U.S. and Cuban officials… held mid-level discussions in Havana and Washington on a range of issues, including direct postal service, migration issues, disaster response, and search and rescue at sea.”
Cuba has signaled they are ready for talks that are not secretive.
New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons says, “There have been a long string of emissaries, both private citizens and Latin American leaders, who have begun to nudge Obama forward on engaging in talks with Cuba and also carrying a message from Castro that he’s willing to talk.”
Currently the snag in the plan is Cuba’s continued imprisonment of U.S. subcontractor Alan Gross. He was imprisoned in 2009 after being charged as a spy “trying to foment revolution.”
Thus far, the Castro regime says it will only release Gross in exchange for four Cubans arrested “in 1998 and convicted of espionage in 2001.”
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