Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cuba: Three-Judge Appellate Panel Considers Suing USAID, Alan Gross Will Be 78 in 2027

According to The Latin American Tribune, attorneys for former US government subcontractor alan Gross, 65, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba on a conviction for subversion argued on Friday (September 19), through his attorney, before a federal appellate court that their client should be allowed to sue the United States.

Alan Gross, now 65, and his wife, Judith, sued Development Alternatives Inc. and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2012 for failing to inform him in advance about the risks of the Cuba mission and for refusing to pull him out after he expressed concern for his safety.

Although the Gross' reached a settlement with DAI (Development Alternatives, Inc.) in 2013, a US District Court in the District of Columbia denied the lawsuit against USAID.

COMMENT: Just for a moment…please close your eyes…and imagine that you are 65 years of age, that your name is Alan Gross, that you're in a Cuban jail cell until the age of 78…HOW WOULD FEEL...KNOWING THAT YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT PUT YOU THERE...THROUGH NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN? Imagine!

Havana has suggested an exchange of Gross for three Cuban intelligence agents serving time in US prisons, which the Obama Administration has ruled out without consideration, insisting that Alan be released unconditionally.

The only mistake that Alan Gross made was believing that the US Government would look after him. They didn't...which is why Alan is in a Cuban prison until 2027.

Let's be honest. There is no love lost between Cuba and the United States, particularly considering that Cuba has lost roughly a trillion dollars in its GDP.

What I find so hard to fathom is the fact that the Cuban government is willing to engage in a prisoner exchange for three Cubans being held in a US prison while President Obama REFUSES to agree to a deal that could be consummated Monday (September 22). 

By next week, Alan Gross could be in Potomac, Maryland with his wife, Judy, and their two daughters, who are now very likely in their late 30s or early 40s.

Unfortunately, the only reason that Alan Gross is behind bars in Cuba until 2027, when Alan will be 78 years age, is because the Obama Administration and their lack of imagination to anticipate the ramifications and failure to assess the personal risk to Alan...put the Maryland resident in a Cuban jail cell for 15 years. 

For those who may share my empathy for Alan's untenable plight, please consider the following:

Alan Gross is elderly and in frail health. He is emotionally discouraged and depressed by his plight, thinking that he may never see his family again. Ever. 

Gross' attorneys challenged the dismissal on Friday (September 19) before a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The three judges listened to arguments from both sides and adjourned without indicating when they would rule on the appeal.

For the three jurists, they have their lives in front of them. Alan doesn't.

The district court judge who dismissed the suit against USAID said the federal government enjoys immunity for injuries suffered abroad.

USAID contracted Maryland-based DAI for a project to expand Internet access and the flow of information in Cuba.

DAI hired Gross to travel to Cuba, where he was detained in December 2009 with satellite communications equipment he was planning to distribute amongst Cuba’s Jewish community.

Cuban authorities said Gross was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion. Alan was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2012.

Havana has suggested an exchange of Gross for three Cuban intelligence agents serving time in a US prison. The United States rejects talk of a prisoner swap, insisting that Gross be released without conditions.

Freedom is only precious…for those that fail to possess it!

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