USA Wants Cuba to Release Alan Gross on Its Terms

Alan Gross (c) con su abogado y esposa.
Alan Gross (c) con su abogado y esposa.

HAVANA TIMES — The US government has once again asked Cuba to “immediately” release the US agent Alan Gross, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of his detention in Havana.

“His release remains a top priority for the United States,” US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told a press conference.

The spokeswoman said that the imprisonment of Gross “represents a significant impediment to a more constructive bilateral relationship” between Washington and Havana.

Gross, 65, was arrested on December 3, 2009 in Havana after bringing to the island sophisticated telecommunications equipment prohibited by the Cuban authorities. A court later sentenced him to 15 years in prison for promoting “acts against the integrity” of the state.

The Maryland resident was working as a highly paid subcontractor for the US development agency USAID. He denies the charges and says he was only on a humanitarian mission to provide Internet access to the small Jewish community in Cuba. He had made several previous trips to the island. (See the real mission of Alan Gross in Cuba).

The government of Raul Castro has repeatedly expressed its willingness to consider a prisoner exchange with Washington. Havana would release Gross in exchange for three Cubans (of the Cuban Five) who have already spent more than 16 years in prison for espionage in the United States.

The Cuban Five were convicted in 2001 by a federal court in Miami for espionage. Two of them were already released and three remain in prison.

The five agents were members of the “Wasp Network”, a clandestine network of Cuban intelligence in the United States. The Castro government maintains that their mission was to prevent attacks on the island by radical Cuban exiles settled mainly in Florida.

So far, Washington has given no sign that it is willing to make the swap, something also advocated in November in a New York Times editorial.

The US government sees no equivalence between the two cases, noting that the three Cubans imprisoned in the United States are convicted of espionage, while Gross was only an aid worker who wanted to bring internet to the island, said Monday a State Department source who requested anonymity.

70 thoughts on “USA Wants Cuba to Release Alan Gross on Its Terms

  • I just read (ABC) that Alan Gross was released. I haven’t read that any spies were released. It seems my arguments made sense.

  • Alan Gross released !!!!!!!!!!

    Alan Gross: Cuba Releases Him After Five Years in Prison

  • It doesn’t require extensive knowledge in politics to realize that the mossad forced the release of Gross.

  • Israel is not an apartheid state. Compare Apartheid era South Africa with Israel:

    South Africa: the majority blacks had no vote, could not hold officer rank in the military, had no judges in South African courts. Freedom of speech was severely curtailed for blacks,

    Israel: Israeli Arabs have the right to vote, are constitutionally guaranteed members in the Knesset, there is an Arab judge on the Supreme Court, & there are Arab officers in the IDF. Arabs serve in the Israeli diplomatic service, Arabs have full freedom of speech.

    If Israel is committing genocide, they certainly are lousy at it. Since 1948, the total number of people killed in all of the Arab-Israeli wars, terrorist attacks and associated violence is about 65,000. Of that, about 43,000 have been Arabs, and most of those were military, or military aged males.

    For comparison sake, of all the wars between Muslim countries during the same period, the total number of dead has reached over 11 million. Most of those have been civilians.

    The most recent, and thoroughly horrific example is in Syria, where over 250,000 people have been killed, again mostly civilians.

    An estimated 8,000 to 12,000 Cubans were executed in the first few years following the Revolution. Estimates of the number of Cubans who have died while attempting to flee Castro’s prison island range from 50,000 to 70,000.

  • Really? Suffering in our broth? Hardly. Look at the facts on the ground. The US has no problem with the progressive regimes in power in Latin America. We will do business with anyone. It is the ties to terrorist regimes and the support these progressives give to Iran, North Korea and other rogue regimes that give us heartburn. The truth is that socialist regimes produce less internally and buy more from US companies. Viva socialismo!

  • I do know that Raul has largely traded the ‘historicos’ loyal to Fidel with a military junta loyal to him. Raul will be 86 years old when his self-imposed “term limit” kicks in. At that age, it is more likely a forgone conclusion that he would step down. In any case, changes must be made prior to Raul’s 2018 departure. It is in the US interest to just wait it out. Cuba will be even more desperate to negotiate with every year the Castros delay the inevitable march toward democracy.

  • As a matter of fact, I have. While they object to certain Israeli policies, they appreciate the democracy in Israel far better than the corrupt gangs of thugs who run Gaza & the West Bank.

    There are Arab members of the Knesset, Arab judges on the supreme court and Arab officers in the IDF.

  • By the way, I am sure you do not know that the entire leadership in Cuba has changed from 2008 through 2013. Raul Castro will not run because there are now term limits in Cubas electoral system? What a country!

  • Being re-elected by a big margin is “doging the bullet” you folks must be suffering in your broth because all the governments USA has tried to overthrow (Honduras and Guatemala ares the exception) now have left leaning governments.
    By the way, recent polls and the work of political scientist Grenier show even Cuban American youth is against the embargo and the foolish US poliicy toward Cuba. The Miami Mafia will see their oppressive stance toward Cubasn dissipate in a few years.

  • I call it gunboat diplomacy…’s like consenting to rape..

  • Did you actually talk to Arab Israelis how they feel about the “democracy” in Isarel? I have, you should before you say inane comments.

  • Yes you are right intervened with doctors, nurse while US send soldiers and patriot missiles!

  • There is no ban because the US has veto power….member more than 179 members of the UN voted against the Cuban embargo and 14 times against the right of Puerto Rico to self determination….Israel is an apartheid state and violates human rights. But you critique Cuba which is a baby compared to the genocidal Israel. How many children Israel killed? How many has Cuba?

  • After Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland etc the USA is also a police state.

  • the police maintain public order and keep cubans and tourists safe. all cubans have free education and health care. more needs to be done but to demonize cuba makes no sense.

  • The Platt Amendment was repudiated by the Cuban government in 1934 and no longer has any legal validity. It is irrelevant to the subject of this thread, unless you are somehow claiming the former Platt Amendment gives the Cuban government the right to send spies to the US to infiltrate US military bases.

  • The truth is the US could easily release the Cubans. The US could hotly deny that any deal had been done and could maintain truthfully that the case had been considered on its own merits. They would also know that Alan Gross would be sent back shortly afterwards – a win-win situation. If Cuba unilaterally released Alan Gross the same wouldn’t be true as their magnanimity could well be rebuffed. This would cause them to lose credibility and look foolish for having counted on an equal US response. Its a pity that the two cases have been mixed up, but given that they have, the solution lies in the hands of Obama.

  • As far as I remember Alan Gross case was dismissed.

    If you look at the track record on how dangerous Alan Gross mission was and why he may have been lulled in to a false sense of security one should only look at the data from the trial. If I remember correctly the Cuban dictatorship knew for at least 4 years what he was doing.

    If one looks at the activities of Alan Gross they would be considered far form dangerous in any other country than Cuba.

    I think Alan Gross knew very well that he was taking a risk, but that he assumed being deported was the worst thing that could happen. It may have looked as a reasonable thing to assume as during the trial no proof of any “anti-Cuban” activities were presented. Alan Gross just got caught up in the plan of the Castro dictatorship that wanted a hostage to pressure the US government in to releasing the spies. A factor that it seems neither he nor his employers had thought of that.

    In any case 15 years for a petty customs violation is abusive.

    The “Cuban 5” are just a propaganda item created by the Castro regime. They are only “real” to those that do not fully know the context of the “avispa” spy ring.

    The were spies and as I have pointed out before: compared to other spies they were not punished extraordinarily harsh. Remember: “second degree murder” could have brought life for the ringleader.

    The Castro dictatorship has indeed now forced itself in to a corner. The blackmail failed and lots of outrage in the US over the imprisonment and treatment of Alan Gross. They have to find a way to unilaterally release Alan Gross without losing face. The US already gave the good example in granting parole and the right to return home to Rene Gonzalez. That was a unilateral act from the US that Cuba could have reciprocated without loss of face.

    It is the Cuban dictatorship that imprisoned Alan Gross who is responsible for his health and life. Only Castro apologists and the dictatorship try to responsibility others for his life. People that use your arguments put at risk any and all US travelers to Cuba.

    As your final comment goes: ” it is normal for Cuban intelligence to put a suspect under observation for years before deciding to act against them” is not correct in my experience. The Cuban regime acts swiftly after a very short time in most cases if there is a real case to answer according to them. People have been arrested and expelled for speaking to dissidents, taking pictures of poverty in Cuba, visiting independent libraries with donations, ….. I think the SDE decided he was no real threat. Alan Gross became interesting only when the dictatorship was looking for a hostage to exchange.

  • The legal term intelligent people use to describe this is an adhesion contract. The US Supreme Court using the “doctrine of reasonable expectations” determined that despite the power difference between the two countries, Cuba entered into this treaty without undue pressure and was receiving fair compensation.

  • Why the Cuban government remains petrified of Cubans gaining access to outside sources of information and diverse thinking is likely an indication of the level of repression the “revolution” has instilled upon people it purports to liberate. At any rate, the ones who are incarcerated are the people of Cuba. They collectively are paying a far higher price than is Mr. Gross for their loss of liberty, though they, unlike Mr. Gross, may not realize they are incarcerated. How many presidents and “regime changes” in the U.S. have there been since the Castros seized power? Why has the U.S. mostly forgotten about Cuba while the collective conscience of Cuba remains frozen time? It is in the best interest of Cuba to release Mr. Gross, and to bring enlightenment to the Cuban people. If the revolution has been a positive thing than it has nothing to fear from the truth.

  • Yes, the Platt amendment like many USA political actions is an abomination. But, I repeat that Moses is correct about the treaty. It is possible that I am as well informed about history as you. In my experience it is a much neglected subject for study in North America (note I wrote North America). As for your apparent dependence upon FOX News, I cannot help.

  • Putin is a hero in Russia – and he was a spy (Colonel in the KGB). So what? Look at his aggression by seizing Crimea and puttting his military into East Ukraine. As for China doing much better, note the crushing of the opinion of the people of Hong Kong when they sought to continue to be able to nominate candidates. Communism (Socialismo) is all about POWER and CONTROL over the people.

  • Over 18% of Israeli citizens are Arabs with the vote and represented in the Knesset. I have visited Israeli Arab buinesses, it is incorrect to say that Israel is an apartheid state. On the other hand the Israeli actions in building houses on the West Bank is counter to achieving peace and due cause for Palestinians to object. The USA could affect the house building by simply saying to Netanyahu that it will reduce its financial support of Israel by $2 million per year – every year – for each house built on Palestinian land.
    “We” don’t get the Washington Times and we have our own television stations so we don’t need the ones in the USA, but the BBC provides excellent coverage of the USA and the rest of the world..

  • The surveillance and control which you refer to in Havana is not confined to Jinteras and/or prostitutes. It is imposed upon everyone including those going about their legal business. It is and is intended to be oppressive. Cuba is a Police State. It is always possible to deter attention away from a subject by dragging in a dead cat – Bangkok is a long long way from Havana.
    I assume that by saying”we” you are referring to the USA. “We” have maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba since long prior to the Castro family regime obtaining power in 1959, being one of only two countries in the Americas to not withdraw diplomatic recognition. “We” have continued to trade with Cuba (as indeed has the USA) but have also done business within the country through companies like Sherrit International, one of the consequences being that Directors are disbarred from entry to the USA.
    Having served as an officer in the Royal Military Police in Germany when still occupying forces, I know how poverty can drive women into prostitution. Cuba is no different except perhaps that the poverty is even greater. I have been approached by prostitutes in England, Scotland, Germany (when not in uniform), Canada, the USA, Greece, France, Belgium and yes, Cuba. The other countries I mentioned do not have oppressive State Police interferring with the general public – only Cuba – yet the prostitution there continues unabated. So what are the State Police actually doing – who is giving money to whom?

  • TREATY? The Platt amendment was IMPOSED by the US….pleaaase, study history now the Fox New chisme!

  • Sovereign? Would you sign a contract with a gun on your head? You probably would and even like it…

  • Israel is an aprtheid state, Mexico is a narco-democracy. You must live under a rock or read the Washington Times and Fox news which don’t cover anythin worth while..

  • Alan Gross sued the US government for not advising him on the dangerous mission he was to undertake on their behalf. From his past history of lucrative contracts in hot spots its hard to believe he was just an innocent dupe. The court ruled against him.

    As to the Cuban Five, they are real for millions in Cuba and around the world. I agree that they were on a spy mission and I also acknowledge that the trial they received was a mokery of justice and the sentences excessively harsh.

    The point is that your insistance on Cuba taking unilateral action to free Gross makes as much sense to the Cuban government as for the US administration to unilaterally free the remaining three Cubans. But since that isn’t how diplomacy usually works anyhow if you really could care less about whether Gross dies in Cuba keep up the same arguments.

    And by the way it is normal for Cuban intelligence to put a suspect under observation for years before deciding to act against them. Isn’t that what the FBI also did with the Wasp Network the Cuban 5 were part of?

  • Thank you for honoring me with a personal reply, Circles. A rare honor.

    I had a look at the two articles you posted links to.
    I agree that Alan Gross violated – repressive – Cuban customs laws that are only aimed at maintaining the “information blockade” of the Castro dictatorship.
    I would argue though that these laws are devoid of any legitimate base in a society that respects human rights. As such one can but question the validity of these laws.
    Accepting the situation as it is: he violated customs law. But that, even after reading Tracy Eaton’s articles, is where it ends.

    Miss Eaton work confirms two crucial facts that have been pointed out here already:
    1. Alan Gross activities had been known to the Castro dictatorship for years. He was never arrested or deported. If the Castro regime really thought that what he was doing was that detrimental to the regime they could have deported him or denied him access. they didn’t. Please explain why you think they did so.
    2. No proof was ever provided of any actions detrimental to the Castro dictatorship using any of the equipment Alan Gross brought over. To reinforce the point: nobody else was ever even accused in this case. It seems the equipment was only used for harmless activities or – please indicate if you disagree – the Castro dictatorship would have made a big deal of it during the trial.

    So please tell me:
    – Do you think that violating customs regulations without that having any proven negative impact on the Castro dictatorship warrants a 15 year sentence?
    – Should a sick, depressed and suicidal man not be released after 5 years as his crime was only a customs violation?
    – Do you disagree with my analysis that Alan Gross was merely arrested to have a means to pressure the US government to release duly convicted spies?

    As far as the “Cuban 5” go: they don’t exist. The Cuban “5” are a figment of the Castro propaganda system. On your own site – from which I posted copied data – you admit that there are at least “the forgotten 7” and probably more.

    Do I think that the spying activities and possible contribution to the downing of 4 pilots in unarmed civilian planes warrant a 16 year+ sentence?
    Lets see: a spy in Cuba is more likely to go to jail for life or be killed.
    Other Cuban spies went to even larger sentences: Ana Montes and Marta Rita Velázquez, 25 years. Note: they haven’t been declared heroes either.

    For their REAL crimes which include spying on military installations 16 years is “below the US standard limit”. That seems to be 25 years. In the case of the aggravated responsibility to extra-judicial killings a sentence of “murder in the second degree”. That carries life imprisonment in the US.
    Based on the analysis above 16 years is below what these spies knew what they would be facing.
    They took the risk of “25 to life”. They accepted the risk and paid the price.

    I do not want to see Alan Gross die in prison. Far from it. I want him released immediately and without conditions. The so-called “crime” of Alan Gross does not even warrant a 5 year prison sentence. It warranted expulsion in “shame”. No more no less.
    If Alan Gross dies in Cuba it is the responsibility of Raul Castro and if that happens Raul should face an international tribunal – as Fidel should on the deaths in the UMAP.
    May I remind you that in December 2011 Alan Gross clearly stated – through his wife – that he did NOT want to be exchanged for the spies. I respect his wished and support a just an humane outcome: immediate and unconditional release for a man that is unjustly held in a Cuban prison.

    The Cuban blackmail should not succeed and all that support justice should not advocate caving in to the Castro dictatorship. Doing so would only endanger more people.

    The US has shown humanity in this case allowing one of the spies to travel back to visit an ailing relative and even remain in Cuba.
    Alan Gross wasn’t allowed to visit his dying mother. Where is the humanity in that?
    Should we reward the oppressive abusive and immoral people in this world or should we support justice and morality? You tell me Circles.

  • The Cuban “sex scene” goes way beyond some “free lance” jineteras. After the subsequent waves of repression the “sex business” has become more harsh, more organized and more embedded in the corrupt system.
    International reports from women’s organizations and child protection agencies have shown that Cuba has a bigger problem than most other countries. As far as child prostitution goes it is named in one breath with Thailand.
    The prostitution may be structured differently – no organized brothels on large “sex roads” like Thailand – but the sex trade is pervasive.
    The fact that teachers are often involved in the child protection rings – cases documented in Santiago, Havana, … – makes it all the more vile.

  • No proof? The Cuban government publicly and repeatedly admits their spies broke US laws.

    Your reference to the testimony of James Clapper, which a staple of the “Free the Five” campaign, full marks for mentioning them as per your instructions, actually misquotes the Lt. General. In answer to the question, “With your experience in intelligence matters, describe Cuba as a military threat to the United States?” Clapper’s answer was, “Absolutely not. Cuba does not represent a threat.”

    He was referring to the military threat posed by the FAR, not to the espionage threat posed by these agents of the Cuban DGI.

    By the way, Clapper is the Director of National Intelligence, not”Obama’s head of security”.

  • Which Guantanamo and which international law?

  • There is no UN ban on sales of military hardware to Mexico or Israel. However, Cuba has provided weapons, money and military training to the Palestinian terrorists of the PLO and the PFLP.

  • Of course jineteras attempt to make money in Havana as such people do in any country. But I have never seen such surveillance and control as there is in Havana in any other country in Latin America. To say that Cuban prostitution approaches that in US or foreign tourist traps is not based in fact. If Rubio wants to see sexual exploitation he might start in Bangkok with its hundreds of strip clubs and massage parlors. I have never heard of an American politician chastise Thailand about the massive exploitation of women in that country. Rather we pick on Cuba, a country that is in the forefront in educating all its citizens, especially women. It doesnt come close to matching the US in one parent female run families. It also doesnt have homeless children as does the rest of Latin America. We shouldnt let the Miami Cubans and their politicians dictate our policy to the isla. of course Cuba should do more in allowing freedom of expression but so should China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and many other countries. Such restrictions havent stopped us from trade or travel to those countries and it shoudnt with regard to Cuba. Our failed 55 year embargo has only hurt the Cuban people and not its leaders.

  • For your information:
    “It is estimated that the Avispa Network which operated in south Florida was made up of at least 25 agents. Of the 14 captured, 7 decided to cooperate with U.S. authorities. Salanueva and Juan Emilio Aboy, members of the network, were deported to Cuba, and least six others managed to evade the FBI crackdown.”

    As an ardent supporter of the “5”, would you please explain what the “anti terrorist” mission was of the “seven non-heroes” you don’t want to mention as far as:
    – spying on MacDill Air Base
    – infiltrating military bases
    – spying on Homestead Air Base and Base 82 of the Air Infantry Division in Fort
    Bragg, North Carolina
    – infiltrating South Command computer networks.

    The “non-heroes”
    – Alejandro Alonso, agent Franklin and 0-5, resident of Miami.
    infiltrate military bases and organizations of Cuban exiles, such as the Democracy Movement (Movimiento Democracia).
    Sentenced to seven years in prison.
    – Linda and Nilo Rodriguez (spouses), also known as “Los Juniors”, agents Judith and Manolo, respectively. Residents of Miami.
    Mission: spy on Homestead Air Base and Base 82 of
    the Air Infantry Division in Fort Bragg, North Caroline. Sentenced to seven years in prison.
    – Joseph and Amarylis Santos (spouses),
    agents Julia and Mario, respectively. Residents of Miami.
    infiltrating South Command computer networks. Sentenced to four years (Joseph) and three years and six months (Amarylis) in prison.
    – George and Marisol Gari (spouses), agents Luis and Margot, respectively. Residents of Florida.
    monitoring the MacDill Air Base (Tampa) and intercepting correspondence between Cuban Americans tagged by Cuban intelligence services, using Marisol’s position as a post office employee at Miami Airport.
    Sentenced to seven years (George) and three years and six months (Marisol) in prison.

    As far as prostitution goes: regretfully Cuba has become a well known destination for sex tourism and even child sex tourism. You can’t deny that.

  • Only one group was ever involved in that – allegedly. Brothers to the Rescue – infiltrated by the “avispa” group” – was never violent. It was an irritant at best.
    The five men ran a larger spy group of 14+ people the existence of which Castro apologists desperately try to hide as the remainder of the group has confessed to their crimes of spying on US companies (postal service, …) that never attacked Cuba, lots of NGO’s with no record other than supporting human rights and the US military.
    The reality is that these “five” ran a wider network and that the members of the network – like Marisol Gari – confirmed their crimes. They were no “anti terrorists”, they were common spies.
    lots of Cubans in Havana want the spies in jail as do lots of US citizens. Spying on the US military is not taken lightly by US citizens.
    You are mindlessly – purposely – repeating the Castro propaganda that tries to hide the facts about the “5” at all costs”.
    Alan Gross, no spy as Raul Castro admitted, and his activities were known to the Castro regime for years. He was never even questioned. At his trial no proof of any “anti Castro” activity perpetrated with any of the equipment he brought was documented and no “accomplices” were ever tried. In the en the whole “case” against Alan was that he didn’t declare one chip he should have. Alan Gross was seized as hostage to pressure the US government in to releasing the criminal spy gang of 5.

  • Wayne – Moses is correct about the treaty!

  • Russia sells weapons to Syria and Iran. Cuba intervened militarily in 13 countries. So I guess that makes Russia and Cuba terrorist????

  • ronbobel777 you really are an innocent regarding the realities of Cuba. Just walk towards the Capitolio from the Plaza Vieja on the streets south of Osbispo where in broad daylight you will be approached by one prostitute after another. $10 – so who needs escort services. But if a married mixed race couple walk near the Capitolio there is a high probability of being stopped by the State Police. You may approve of “the efforts of the Cuban authorities to clamp down”, but they are remarkably ineffective with the Jinteras – or did I see fat hip pockets?

  • you forgot to add: ‘and got caught”. Having been caught they were tried and sentenced. Spying within the territory of another country holds risks – the Russians shot foreign agents who were trying to infiltrate organizations opposed to democracy and freedom.

  • What a nutty thing to say. Israel and Mexico are free and open democracies. North Korea is, well….North Korea.

  • Lying and using false ID to infiltrate a US Navy base is hardly civil disobedience. It’s a criminal act and is punishable under Federal law. The use of Guantanamo was enacted by a legal treaty between two sovereign countries. You are wrong on both issues.

  • The Miami groups were involved in bombing hotels in Havana in the late 90s. Cuba had a right to protect itself against terrorist acts and did so. The five men were inflitrating Miami based terror groups and are heros in Cuba. Regarding brothers to the rescue, would the US allow foreign aircraft to fly over Washington or Miami and drop leaflets? I never met a Cuban in Havana who thought the five should have been sentenced. Trade them for Gross and establish full relations with Cuba as just about every coumtry in the world has done. We shouldnt allow the old line Miami mafia to dictate our Cuba policy. Fortunately Obama now allows Cubans to visit family there whenever they wish rather than the draconian neo conservative Bush policy of one visit every three years. Finally, Rubio spouts off about Cuba and prostitution but has never been there and seen the efforts of Cuban authorities to clamp down. If he is so concerned about prostitution he should start with the widespread problem in Florida. In Cuba there are no strip clubs, no massage parlors or escort services. Why doesnt he complain about these in Florida if he is such a puritan?

  • So I guess the US is terrorist because it sells weapons to Israel and to Mexico where these weapons are used to kill their youth????

  • BS, in Vieques thousands did the same, it’s called civil disobedience……anyway Guantanamo is in violation of international law…

  • I hope and pray that the Castros come to understand that their plan to take an American contractor hostage to force a trade for their spies has failed. Given Gross’ failing health, the liability of his dying while in a Castro gulag far outweighs his future propaganda value. No, I absolutely did not forget about him. I believe the Castros will send him home soon.

  • And it seems…by your assertion…without adopting a mutually “stupid” release of Alan Gross then too. Or did you forget about him? It seems so…..

  • Why should the US capitulate to the Castros’ blatant hostage-taking scheme? What measurable geo-political benefit will this action bring? Yes, the Cold War is over. The US watched the Berlin Wall come down and the dissolving of the former Soviet Union. We won without giving in to socialist shenanigans. Why should we give in to the Castros now?

  • The Cuban five inflitrated Miami terrorist groups and are heros in Cuba. The cold war is over. Let them go and treat Cuba just like all the other civilzed nations in the world treats it. The 55 year embargo has harmed the Cuban people and enhanced the rule of the Castros. China and Vietnam are doing much better since open trade and travel with the west was started.

  • Any intelligence agent believes they are working to protect their country. It makes no excuse for violating the laws of another country.

    One can’t get any more pro-terrorist than selling military weapons to North Korea, in violation of a UN resolution. Cuba & North Korea were caught red handed. The North Korean regime executed by firing squad the North Korean general who conducted the operation. Meanwhile, Major General Pedro Mediondo who was responsible for the Cuban side of the operation died in a curious car accident a week after the UN investigators announced their intention to interview him.

  • The US should not give in to Castro’s blackmail.
    Alan Gross – as shown in his process – in no way hurt the Cuban people or even the regime. During his trial no other person was indicted and no “anti Cuban” activities proved.
    The Cuban spies were responsible for the death of pilots of Brothers to the Rescue and spied – as other members of the spy ring Cuba would like to forget about confirmed – on US military installations, US companies, US NGO’s and individuals living in the US.

  • Is The Cuban 5 who were really The Cuban 14 of The Wasp Network dear! Why such bad math on your part!

  • Really? So why sneak onto a US Navy installation?

  • What is the upside again Terry? Please don’t start with Latin American relations. You should check the “scoreboard’. Venezuela is circling the drain, Rousseff in Brazil dodged a bullet in her reelection and will likely move to the political center to survive. Argentina’s Fernandez took note of Rousseff’s close call and will also moderate her progressive posturing. From where I sit, things are looking up for US interests WITHOUT doing anything stupid like release the remaining 3 Cuban spies.

  • Actually his testimony was that the spies had not accomplished anything or committed any acts of espionage that would be considered a threat to national security. Breaking the law does harm even if it poses no threat to national security. Why should Obama make the exchange? Other than the obvious benefit to the Gross family, how does America benefit?

  • The FBI had the Wasp Network under surveillance long before the Castros turned them in for propaganda value. That “Puerto Rican” head you seem to wish to disparage is a US citizen and was simply doing his job.

  • Sir Moses…..get real

  • Ummm. So what were they doing at Boca Chica Naval Air Station and Southern Command ?

  • I’m with you, Richard. It’s really a-big-to-do about nothing. But some would rather dwell on the so-called negative implications of doing the exchange…. and ignore the upside completely. In this case, I see the exchange as a win / win / win for all….and for none more so than Alan Gross and his family.

    To those who are against the trade…..imagine this…. the Cuban Government releases Alan Gross first, as the US is demanding…seemingly without an agreement in place to do the trade. Would Obama and the US government then feel compelled to return the favor by releasing the remaining Cuban 5? Is that how it should go down? Does America simply negotiate that chain of events in advance with Raul before putting it into play to save face? Save face with who? And does the American government really think they would be fooling anyone with that tactic anyway? Just come clean and do it straight-up…rip it off quick like a band-aide…I’m sure it will be painless….and everyone can then go home for Christmas.

  • The irony is that they were so dumb (the Cubans) to inform the FBI about what they had found about the Miami terrorists, and the Puerto Rican head of the FBI brown nosing charged them and eventually they were sent to jail.

  • Excuse my french bu BS, the Cuban were there to protect their country from the Miami Mfia terrorists. As one who was a victim of Cuban Mafia terrorism in Puerto Rico (2 dead in Mayaguez) 1975 I have no sympathy for your pro terrorist stance.

  • Oh really? Will the US release the remainder of the Cuban 5? The US is really out of touch!

  • Obama is the last person to ask for help here.

  • The Cubans were here in the US to commit espionage. Gross, using his real name and passport, was giving away computers and telephone SIM cards. These are very different cases. Moreover, the Castros took Gross hostage to effect a trade for their imprisoned spies. To capitulate to the Castros sends a message to despots around the world that if you want to force the US to negotiate, arrest a US citizen. North Korea operates from the same playbook. The US must never give in to these tactics.

  • That’s not all they were doing:

    “…the network observed and infiltrated a number of Cuban-American groups: Alpha 66, the F4 Commandos, the Cuban American National Foundation, and Brothers to the Rescue.[2] The court found that they had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami-based organization that flew small aircraft over the Florida straits in efforts to rescue rafters fleeing Cuba, and had on some flights intentionally violated Cuban airspace and dropped leaflets.[3] They obtained employment as laborers at the Key West Naval Air Station and sent the Cuban government detailed reports about the movement of aircraft and military personnel, and descriptions of the layout of the facility and its structures.[3] They also attempted to penetrate the Miami facility of Southern Command, which plans and oversees operations of all U.S. military forces throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.[3] On February 24, 1996, two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft were shot down by Cuban military jets in international airspace while flying away from Cuban airspace, killing four U.S. citizens aboard.[3] The U.S. government also accused the remaining four of lying about their identities and sending 2,000 pages of unclassified information obtained from U.S. military bases to Cuba. The network received clandestine communications from Cuba via the Atención numbers station.”

    The Brothers to the Rescue is not a terrorist organization, and both the US Naval Air Station and Southern Command are US military facilities.

  • First of all there were about 14 Cuban spies, not just “5”! and they did more than spy on the Cuban exile “terrorist groups” dear!

  • For God’s sake, make the exchange. I read the meeting notes USAID CDCPP. Let’s stop the nonsense.

  • One injustice can undo another injustice. The five were lynched without proof of guilt in Miami, except for being unregistered agents, and so was Gross for bringing internet access to some people in Cuba. Both were poisoned fruit of the Cold War. Obamas head of security, Clapper, testified as an expert witness on behalf of the Five. His testimony was that the Five did not do anything to harm the United States. So why should there be a controversy as to their right to be free and pardoned by Obama. If Kerry does not want to make the exchange, Obama should.

  • The US should exchange Gross for the remainder of the Cuban five. The latter were here to infiltrate Cuban exile terrorist groups.

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