US Senators Return from Cuba Trip to Negotiate Release of Alan Gross

Alan Gross

HAVANA TIMES – A delegation of two US senators traveled to Havana and met Tuesday with agent Alan Gross in a renewed effort to persuade the Cuban authorities to release him, reported Cafe Fuerte.

Senators Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, and Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, were optimistic on Gross’s release after meeting with him for two hours in the Military Prison Hospital where he is serving a sentence of 15 years.

This is a new effort by high level US politicians to resolve the main obstacle to the progress of bilateral relations, something that does not seem in sight after a complex political landscape in Washington.

“Most importantly from our visit to Gross is the message that he wants to go home,” Udall said during an impromptu news conference with reporters in Havana.

An encouraging step

No details of the conversation were revealed, but at least it is an encouraging step that Gross had agreed to meet with them. The Development Alternatives Inc. employee had said goodbye to his family this summer and since then was reluctant to receive any visitors in prison.

On the eve of his 65th birthday, on May 2, Gross said that this would be his last year in prison and that he would return to the United States alive or dead.

Asked about the possibility that Gross be released, Flake said, “I feel we are closer to it, because Alan Gross has said himself that this is going to end one way or another.”

The senator added that after five years of arrest, “any benefit that the Cuban government may have figured, must have evaporated by now.”

The senators arrived in Cuba on Sunday with the plan to request the release of Gross with the Cuban authorities. No details on the dialogue with government partners, including Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez were disclosed.

However, there is no indication, that the resolution of the case will be imminent.

Five Years of Agony

The visit from the US lawmakers occurs within one month of the fifth anniversary of the arrest of Gross on Dec. 3, 2009. One option is that the Cuban authorities reopen access to the legal case for humanitarian reasons, once a third of his sentence is served.

Neither Alan’s lawyer, Scott Gilbert, nor spokespersons from the Gross family responded Tuesday to CaféFuerte questions about the senators visit to Havana.

But Flake and Udall’s trip coincides with the confirmation of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), funder of the program Gross worked for, is reviewing the internal rules on covert missions in countries at risk, as is the case in Cuba.


15 thoughts on “US Senators Return from Cuba Trip to Negotiate Release of Alan Gross

  • The Bergdahl swap was a lost deal. But it’s satisfying to hear you putting the Castro regime in the role of the Taliban.

    Birds of a feather.

  • Bergdahl was a soldier carrying out orders. His case is entirely different than a private citizen/contractor. In as much as we consider the Castro regime as illegitimate government, the application of laws carried out by this banana republic are less than convincing. Nonetheless, Goss is currently being hostage by this regime and we must accept that reality. What we should not do is give credibility to this regime and their failed hostage-taking scheme by negotiating the release of the three remaining spies in exchange for Gross. This would only show more weakness for Obama’s highly criticized foreign policy decisions.

  • grtoss broke cuban law. and we traded five terrorists for bergdahl.

  • Spy-for-spy trades are commonplace. But Alan Gross was not a spy. Raul Castro said so himself. Trading the three remaining spies for contract worker Alan Gross would be a serious foreign policy mistake. Worse yet to effect a trade with a despotic regime like the Castros’ would likely trigger further hostage-taking around the world by other like-minded rogue regimes.

  • Everyone spies to protect themselves. We have CIA agents throughout the world and listen to everyone’s conversations. It’s time to let the three Cubans go and exchange them for the spy Allan Gross. Cuba is no worse than China or Vietnam when it comes to human rights and we should normalize relations. We should also look at the reasons why we have the highest prison population in the world many of whom are there for smoking weed.

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