Declaring that Cuban President Raul Castro wants a better relationship with the United States, Senator Patrick Leahy called Tuesday for a new U.S.-Cuba policy based on what he called "ice cream diplomacy."
The Vermont Democrat, who met with Castro while leading a Congressional delegation to Cuba, said the Cuban leader "reacted positively" to an offer from Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based ice cream giant, to create a number of new flavors designed to improve Cuba's image in the U.S.
Leahy said Ben & Jerry's will begin distributing the first of the new flavors, dubbed "Heavenly Havana Hash," in March, followed shortly by "Raul's Revolutionary Rum Raisin," "Fabulous Fudge Fidel" and "Cherry Che Guevara."
Other Cuban-themed flavors will be unveiled in the coming months, including one called "Miami Mojito," which Leahy said will appeal to the more than 850,000 Cuban-Americans in Florida, many of them exiles from their homeland.
But he said he advised Ben & Jerry's marketing executives to drop their plan to create flavors called "Boat People Banana Nut" and "Bay of Pigs Pistachio."
Although Leahy was unable to secure the release of Alan Gross, an American sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison after being accused of bringing illegal communications equipment to the island while on a USAID-funded democracy program, he said he is hopeful that "quiet negotiations" will lead to his eventual release.
Leahy told reporters that "it's time to re-examine the overall U.S.-Cuban relationship and move on from the "Cold War mentality" of the 1960s and 1970s, and added, "There's no better way of doing that than sitting down together and sharing a dish of ice cream."
Leahy, who is president pro-tem of the Senate and third in line of succession for the presidency, told reporters he's confident that his two former Senate colleagues, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, understand that ice cream diplomacy can improve U.S.-Cuba relations and help speed Alan Gross's release.
"Besides," he said, "it will be great for Vermont's dairy farmers."
NOTE: This piece is satirical. Some quotations are fabrications for the purpose of satire.