Alan Gross & Cuban-5 at Cuba-US Migration Talks

The contractor Alan Gross in a recent photo taken at the Military Hospital Carlos J. Finlay of Havana, where he is serving prison. From cafefuerte.com
Alan Gross in a recent photo taken at the Military Hospital Carlos J. Finlay of Havana, where he is serving prison. From cafefuerte.com

HAVANA TIMES — When negotiators from Cuba and the United States sat down to talk migration on Thursday in Havana two unrelated issues were also at the table: US agent Alan Gross and the Cuban Five.

Representing the US was undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affiars Edward Alex Lee, who visited Alan Gross at the military hospital where he is serving a 15 year sentence for endangering the Cuban state.

Lee did not reveal the content of his conversation with Gross, saying it was a private visit.  He added that during the talks on Thursday the Cuban delegation brought up the issue of the four Cuban spies serving long sentences in the US, noted Café Fuerte.

“We continue to be profoundly concerned about his wellbeing,” said Lee about Gross.  The agent was arrested in 2009 while working on one of the USAID funded regime change programs in Cuba. His smuggling illegal telecommunications equipment into Cuba to set up independent Internet networks had brought the Maryland resident a hefty salary from Development Alternatives Inc, the contractor.

Recently Gross’s wife Judy called into question the sincerity of the US government effort to obtain her husband’s freedom. In a recent protest held in front of the White House, she called for good faith negotiations instead of ineffective mandates from Washington.

Judy criticized the US State Department’s repeated demand for the immediate, unconditional release of Gross saying that this tact has gotten them nowhere for the past four years and if the U.S. government does not drop the, unconditionally,” this will be a death sentence for Alan.” She pleaded: “Please Mr. President don’t leave Alan to die in Cuba.”

While the Obama administration continues to call for Gross’s release without conditions, Havana has proposed a negotiation that would involve the release of four Cuban intelligence agents imprisoned in the US since 1998.

Falsification of documents

Another issue discussed on Thursday was the falsification of consular documents by hundreds of persons trying to obtain US residency (easy for Cubans but much more difficult for other nationals), notes Café Fuerte.

The two countries have been working together for years regarding the verification of birth certificates that are usually presented to US immigration authorities by persons seeking legal status and fast track permanent residency under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Meanwhile, a note from the Cuban Foreign Ministry said the Cuban delegation insisted once again on the fact that illegal unsafe migration “would not be eradicated nor there could be a legal, safe and orderly migration as long as the wet foot/dry foot policy and the Cuban Adjustment Act are not derogated, for these are the main encouragement to illegal departures and irregular arrivals of Cuban citizens in the US territory.”

According to undersecretary Lee, the talks took place in a “respectful and contractive” atmosphere.

The next round of bilateral talks on migration issues are planned for this summer in Washington.


19 thoughts on “Alan Gross & Cuban-5 at Cuba-US Migration Talks

  • Thanks Griffin,
    That seemed to be a fairly objective, if anecdotal, report on drugs in Cuba .
    Marijuana use, while illegal, is hardly a problem in any society except for the effects of outlawing it.
    I am much surprised at the apparent short supply of cocaine and heroin given that Fidel Castro and (probably) brother Raul and likely all top officials in Cuba are so involved in drug trafficking to line their pockets.
    This in spite of the fact that Forbes Magazine named Fidel as one of the richest men in the world because of the fact that he can walk into the national treasury and walk out with as much money as he wants .
    Seriously though, I have no doubt drug use and sales exist in Cuba and every country except perhaps the Vatican but I highly doubt that it represents anywhere near the problem it does throughout Latin America and the United States where drug use has helped that racist country perpetuate permanent second-class citizenship for the inordinate number of Afro-Americans jailed for drug use and who cannot then get a job because of that record .
    The killings throughout Central America due entirely to drug use in the U.S . do not happen in Cuba.
    Some things are entirely relative.

  • What is the incarceration rate in Cuba Griffin. and what are the statistics on those in for political activities as opposed to common criminality ?
    Cuba has serious drug problem compared to what nation or compared to the time before the revolution ?
    No sourcing for your information in light of your stated antipathy for the Cuban revolution does not lend a sense of credibility to what you claim.

  • Griffin,
    I was closely associated with the U.S.’s Socialist Worker’s Party all through the 60s and 70s .
    The group was very active in legally opposing U.S. imperialism but any Stalinist would have been quickly identified and kicked out .
    The SWP always had an economic struggle to survive and never got a penny from the Soviet Union.
    My very close friends in the party at the time were higher ups and knew everything having to do with the financing of that (Trotskyist) party
    During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Communist Party urged a vote for the more liberal Lyndon Johnson as opposed to the conservative Barry Goldwater and the all the Moscow-oriented Communist Parties in following a go along to survive modus operandi, always went with the lesser of two evils way of urging votes for liberals rather than conservative capitalist candidates in most capitalist countries around the world.
    Given that the Soviets lost some 50 million people to the hostile capitalist forces arrayed against them in two world wars , it would have been suicidal for them to disarm when the U.S . was quite explicit about crushing them in whatever fashion they could.
    The U.S was and still is the biggest threat to peace in the world .
    You might w want or not want to Google up Paul Street’s recent article ” The Biggest Threat To Peace ….” and see why this is so or you can ignore the truth as is your wish.

  • What is the unemployment rate in Cuba ?
    It’s about 20% in the US
    What is the number of people who go without adequate healthcare on a per capita basis in Cuba ?
    That rate is 17% or 50 million in the US.
    How many homeless are there on a per capita basis in Cuba as compared to the rich U.S. ?
    Go look up the statistics.
    Miami has a 35% poverty rate
    What effect has the U.S economic war had on the entire Cuban population in creating societal behavioral problems ?
    What you present are lies of omission; You leave out what does not fit your desired narrative but aren’t aware that it negates much of what you claim by doing so.

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