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

  • 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.

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