Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cuba: US Government Contractor Alan Gross, 64, Now Serving 15 Years in Prison in Havana

According to The Latin American Tribune, Alan Gross, 64, the US government contractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba on subversion charges, because he was sent to Havana for performing work on behalf of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), only to be imprisoned for 15 years for subversion.

On April 3 to protest “inhumane” treatment behind bars and to pressure Havana and Washington into making a serious effort “to resolve this shameful ordeal,” in the words of a letter he sent his lawyer in Washington.

In deference to a request from his 91-year-old mother, Alan Gross has given up on his hunger strike.

Gross traveled to Cuba on behalf of Maryland-based Development Alternatives, Inc., that won a contract from USAID to expand Internet access and the flow of information on the Communist-ruled island, a project that has has been called "dumb, dumb, dumb" by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), 74.

Cuban authorities arrested Mr. Gross in December 2009 in possession of communications equipment.

Havana said Mr. Gross was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion and in an August 2012 ruling, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on the American.

COMMENT: Our readers should know that Mr. Gross will not be released until from his Havana prison until 2027, when he will be 79 years of age, having spent 15 precious years in prison, compliments of USAID. 


USAID’s 2010-2012 ZunZuneo initiative was conducted via a Spanish front company using banks in the Cayman Islands.

“Once Alan was arrested, it is shocking that USAID would imperil his safety even further by running a covert operation in Cuba,” attorney Scott Gilbert said earlier this week.

“USAID has made one absurdly bad decision after another. Running this program is contrary to everything we have been told by high-level representatives of the Obama administration about USAID’s activities in Cuba,” Gilbert emphasized.

Gross has lost more than 49 kilos (110 pounds) since his arrest and is confined to a small cell with two other prisoners for 23 hours a day, his lawyer said.

Cuba has hinted that it would release Gross in exchange for the return of the three of the “Cuban Five” intelligence agents who remain jailed in the United States.

Washington has dismissed talk of a possible swap, demanding that Cuba release Gross unconditionally.

Considering that it was USAID whose actions rendered the agency complicit in Alan Gross' confinement for 15 years, logic would dictate that the Obama Administration show some compassion and release the Cuban Three, thereby permitting Alan to go home to his family.