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

  • December 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

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

  • December 17, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Alan Gross released !!!!!!!!!!

    Alan Gross: Cuba Releases Him After Five Years in Prison

  • December 17, 2014 at 8:04 am

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

  • December 10, 2014 at 8:44 am

    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.

  • December 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    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!

  • December 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    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.

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