Alan Gross, Invited to State of the Union

Alan Gross and his wife Judy on the day he was released from prison in Cuba.
Alan Gross and his wife Judy on the day he was released from prison in Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor freed by Cuba under the thawing of relations between the two countries, will be tomorrow a guest of President Obama at the State of the Union.

Gross and his wife are on the guest list for the first lady, Michelle Obama, released today. It is customary at the annual message to invite persons that the administration believes are important figures in its defense of its policies before Congress.

Gross was released on December 17, 2014, from prison in Cuba after serving five of a 15 year sentence for introducing sophisticated telecommunications devices into the country prohibited by the laws of the island.

His release and that of a Cuban spy working for the CIA had as its counterpart in the release of three Cubans convicted of espionage in the United States. The exchange was part of the agreement under which the two countries decided to resume relations after more than half a century of confrontation.

When he makes his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama is expected once again to defend his new approach to policy towards Cuba, opposed by a portion of the Republicans.

12 thoughts on “Alan Gross, Invited to State of the Union

  • A few weeks ago I did no share the political calculus that has driven the President’s decisions. I continue to think it is a mistake to take the pressure off the regime at this stage and after so much has already been sacrificed but I voted for Obama twice so I accept my part in his decision. Because I have “skin in the game” and you don’t, I can ill afford to be as theoretical as you seem to be. No human being deserves to control an entire country for 50 years. No man is that smart or that infallible or that exceptional. On this issue alone, the Castros are despicable.

  • What? And wake you up? No I think you live in a bit of a dream world. But I’ll tell you something…only a few short weeks ago, you never would have been talking the way you are now. Good to see you buy into the flavor of the month…or sign of the times…or whatever you want to call it. But the times they are a changing. Way to go, Sylvester…it seems you’re beginning to accept things for what they are…including those disthhhhhhpicable Castros. If I’m wrong, then dream on.

  • House Speaker John Boehner has invited the Cuban dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, who is known as “Antunez” to be his guest at the State of the Union speech.

    Antunez, the 43-year-old leader of Cuba’s civic resistance movement, served more than 17 years in prison, with the Castro regime releasing him in 2007 ahead of expected European sanctions. On Obama’s deal with Castro, Antunez stated,

    “The future of Cuba should not have been agreed to in secret — as these secret negotiations between Cuba and the regime have been carried out,” he said. “No agreement that excludes the Cuban resistance and the Cuban people can be considered legitimate.”

    Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio has invited Rosa Paya Acevedo of the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement and daughter of slain Cuban dissident, Oswald Paya.

  • ….because?

  • Rather than focus on my address, tell me which part of my comment is untrue.

  • Wayne, Moses lives in his dream world.

  • Thank you for the updated information. Menendez is now the former Chair. Corker is the new chair.

    Corker has stated that the embargo has not worked, but he has not decided if Obama’s new deal is the right way to go forward. He has pledged to hold extensive discussions within the committee and to hear from all sides of the debate. He did say he wanted to be sure that the new relationship will help promote a civil society and democracy in Cuba.

    Looking at the membership of the committee: James E. Risch, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Jeff Flake, Cory Gardner, David Perdue, Johnny Isakson, Rand Paul, John Barrasso, Ranking, Bob Menendez, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin L. Cardin, Jeanne Shaheen, Christopher Coons, Tom Udall, Chris Murphy, Tim Kaine, Edward J. Markey.

    Some are strongly anti-Castro and will oppose Obama’s request to lift the embargo (Rubio, Menendez, Johnson, Gardner, Perdue). Others such as Flake, Udall, Boxer, Murphy, Kaine, Markey have spoken on the record they want to lift the embargo. Some are still undecided.

    it will be interesting to hear their discussions and what changes they might recommend to Obama’s request.

  • Don’t agree with Moses….

  • The recent good news is that Senator Patrick Leahy, a longtime Castro fan, along with the rest of the useful idiots tagging along with him from the Congressional delegation, met with a solid group of Cuban dissidents. The dissidents report that they were able to fully share their concerns about Obama’s recent moves toward Cuban normalization with the Congressmembers. This is timely as the US delegation will meet with the Castro team today. Moreover, this delegation will share their notes with the State Department representatives who arrive later this week in Cuba. I voted for Obama, in part, because he believed we should talk to our enemies. I have to accept that this strategy includes the despicable Castros. Expanding tourism and encouraging US investment in Cuba, while not the ideal strategy to deal with tyrants will still help more than harm the cause of democracy and freedom in Cuba. Yes, the Castros will pick up a few extra bucks that they will no doubt use to sustain their repressive regime. But history supports that everywhere US business goes, people buy more US crap and ultimately want to buy into our way of life. Will oppression continue? Tragically yes, but not without the awareness that a better life is possible. Right now, many Cubans are not even aware that it is possible to think for yourself and speak your own mind. These are scary concepts for many Cubans. One last point, as unpopular as it seems, I still believe the death of Fidel Castro will make a real difference. I believe that the true face of the oligarchy will surface after Fidel is entombed and, for better or worse, change will take place.

  • Gross…..a SPY

  • Griiffin, Menendez is no longer the chair. And have a read what the new chair, Bob Corker thinks about your beloved embargo on Cuba?

  • Obama’s deal with Castro is opposed by quite a few Democrats as well, including the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

    I wonder if Obama will mention that 2 of the 53 political prisoners Raul released as part of the agreement have already been re-arrested?

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