The Cuban Five / Alan Gross Swap


Montreal-based writer, journalist, and lecturer Arnold August comments on a recent editorial regarding the release of Alan Gross and a possible swap involving three of “The Cuban Five.” As August explains, of the five, René González and Fernando González have served their entire terms and have returned home. The three remaining are: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino.

The NYT article, “A Prisoner Swap with Cuba,” states, “Early on in Mr. Gross’s detention, Cuban officials suggested they might be willing to free him if Washington put an end to initiatives designed to overthrow the Cuban government. After those talks sputtered, the Cuban position hardened and it has become clear to American officials that the only realistic deal to get Mr. Gross back would involve releasing three Cuban spies convicted of federal crimes in Miami in 2001.” August’s blog post includes a letter to President Barack Obama, in which he includes information on presidential pardon based on the U.S. Constitution. Here are excerpts:

The New York Times editorialized (2 November 2014) in favor of a prisoner swap with Cuba. It writes that the three remaining prisoners of the group known as the Cuban Five should be released in a swap for the American Alan Gross who is in a Cuban prison.

According to the NYT, for the swap to take place, “President Obama would need to commute” the three Cubans’ sentences. This would be similar in practical terms to presidential pardon, according to the U.S. Constitution, as it would free the Cubans. It is a significant step as far as the media in the U.S. is concerned.

To read the NYT Editorial and for further information on presidential pardon based on the U.S. Constitution that President Obama has at his disposal as well as the precedents set by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter, see [. . .]

For the NYT editorial, see

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