Cuba, US Diplomats Can Save Alan Gross

By Circles Robinson

Along the Havana malecon seawall. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, March 13 — US citizen Alan Gross was just sentenced in Cuba to 15 years in prison for participating in a US-AID program seeking regime change on the island.

Now it’s up to the two countries’ diplomats to come to some sort of mutually beneficial agreement that would allow the 61-year-old Maryland resident to return home.

As an employee of Development Alternatives Inc., a US government contractor, Gross made several trips in a short period to Cuba taking with him illegal telecommunications equipment.

After he was arrested back in December 2009, he first used the alibi that he was only trying to help Jews in Cuba have Internet.

However according to an official report on the trial, held March 4-5, Gross claimed that he was “used and manipulated” by the US government agency that financed the program that took him to Cuba.

After a thorough investigation, the prosecution had asked for a 20-year sentence for Gross’s “Actions against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State.”

Now it’s up to the diplomats to break the ice and find a path to allow the Maryland resident to return to the United States. A prisoner swap was reportedly proposed by Cuba to exchange Gross for some or all of the Cuban Five, imprisoned in the US since 1998.

However, the US State Dept. outwardly rejects any such exchange and continues to demand the unilateral release of Gross, noting that there is no chance for improved US-Cuba relations as long as he is imprisoned.

Cold War Symbol

The Cuban Five and Alan Gross symbolize the lingering Cold War mentality that still exists between the two countries, adversaries for over a half century. Attempts by former Brazilian President “Lula” da Silva to get President Obama to drop the hostile US policy towards Cuba failed to produce results.

While experts agree that Cuba poses no threat to the United States, successive US administrations, including under Obama, treat the island as if it was public enemy number one, going to the extreme of prohibiting ordinary US citizens from visiting the neighboring country.

The US also maintains a half-century economic embargo that has greatly damaged the Cuban economy but has not brought down the government, the reason behind it. The embargo, called a blockade in Cuba, has also served as a catch-all excuse for any deficiencies or errors in its highly centralized economic system.

Thus the fate of Alan Gross, already in prison for 15 months, depends on political negotiations that could succeed if there is willingness from both parties, or never get off the ground, if the Cold War prevails.

For more background on this story read: Alan Gross for the Cuban Five

 


3 thoughts on “Cuba, US Diplomats Can Save Alan Gross

  • March 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm
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    Hello John,
    you´re clearly right. It is if you wanna put it like this the International Struggle of Classes, but this insupportable arrogance of the US is certainly also based on their (still) economic and military power and the fact that the US never had a war from outside in the past century in their own territories.But on`t also forget the daily brainwashing within the US everyday: we are God`s own Country ( which they robbed anyways by massacring the Indians), we are the Greatest etc.etc., We have to give Leadership ( who asked them to do so???). All of this has to do also with an anachronistic attitude of thoughts going back to the Fathers and the barbary of the Wild West mixed with the Puritan world of thoughts, tahat every crime the US committed in their history was with the Blessing of God. Its simply a promlem of mentality and brainwashing within the US. plus this ultra- capitalist way of thinking, that making money ( at any price) is the most important thing in life. Its the American philosphy itself which causes all these problems, this almost Hitlerian and Nitschean “Übermensch” thinking of the Americans, mixed with a good portion of chauvinism,racism and complete disrespect for other cultures or forms of living together and very often no matter to which class they belong to, which has to do with the fact that the struggle of classes never was that pronounced as f.e in Europe or elsewhere. Regards from Vienna

  • March 14, 2011 at 11:45 am
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    I think that we cannot forget what was not mentioned in Circles Robinson’s article and that is the United State’s long term foreign policy objective of making the world safe for capitalism by destroying any attempts at a socialist economy.
    This policy has persisted since the U.S participated in the invasion and attempted destruction of the nascent Soviet Union in 1917(?) . Throughout the 20th century there were innumerable other interventions and this process accelerate noticeably after WWII with the interventions into the Greek and Italian elections, the Korean War, the overthrow of the elections in Iran, Guatemala, Chile,the Vietnam War, Nicaragua, Playa Giron and the now 50 year war on Cuba. Bay and somewhere around 50 more.

    The U.S hostility towards Cuba is certainly not because of what the U.S calls the dictatorship since U.S foreign policy history is replete with examples of U.S support and indeed installation of some of the most repressive dictatorships of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    It is the success of socialism that the elite and the corporations of the U.S both fear and fight and since they OWN the government , it has long been the policy of our alleged representatives in government whom THEY choose and allow us to elect. .

    Were Fidel and Raul and the Cuban people to throw out the Cuban socialist economy and go back to U.S approved capitalism, U.S. hostility would vanish overnight and the “murderous, cruel and hated” Fidel and Raul would become sudden heroes to the State Department.

    It is very important not to lose sight of this reality.

  • March 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm
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    Personally I feel a pity for a 61 years old man and of course his family. At the other hand there is this usual US-American arrogance all over the world, that the yankees think they can do whatever they want in any country in the world. Thats one side of the medal, and they shouldn`t get through with it. They want to decide who is allowed to rule where ( see Mrs. Clintons outbursts on Egypt f.e), who has to resign etc. and who is allowed to do what in which country,, which systerm is beeing allowed when and where,and if sowhere somebody doen`t dance after the whip of the Yankees they see their interests being ” endangered”, which according to their own doctrin, gives them the right to intervene wherever and whenever they want.( without havin asked anybody) . Can imagine what would have happened if I had done the same thing as Mr. Gross in the States. And that USAID is a covered up CIA organisation any bird is twittering from any roof in this world. Probably Mr. Gross was lured, then human pity would be adequate, at the other hand, if not, which state would tolerate on a long term the continuing disrespect of the United States towards the legislation of other countries? Can an US- citizen really do whatever he wants in any country he wants without bearing the consequences? That´s the question for me. And Mr. Gross is not and will be not the last case. And actually I think that`s what it is all about, not only in Cuba…namely the very arrogance of the US.

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