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Thursday, January 14, 2010

American Jewish contractor arrested for spying in Cuba

The New York Times reports that 60-year old Alan P. Gross of the Washington DC suburbs was arrested last month in Cuba and charged with spying for the United States.
Details about Mr. Gross and his work in Cuba slowly began to emerge this week. Mr. Gross studied social work at the University of Maryland and the Virginia Commonwealth University, and he had a long career as an international development worker that took him to at least 50 countries.

In 2001, he started a company called Joint Business Development Center, whose Web site says it has “supported Internet connectivity in locations where there was little or no access,” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Armenia and Kuwait. Records show his company earned less than $70,000 last year.

One friend, Howard Feinberg, said, “The Alan I know is someone who is concerned only about helping improve the human condition, not meddling in people’s politics.”

President Obama came to office promising a new era of engagement with Cuba. But after lifting some restrictions on travel and remittances, he has been reluctant to take further steps, citing continuing reports of human rights abuses in Cuba. Some Cuba experts have said that Mr. Gross’s arrest may harden Mr. Obama’s stance.

Cuba, meanwhile, said the episode signaled that Mr. Obama was just as committed to overthrowing the government as his predecessor was.

Havana has used Mr. Gross’s arrest as an opportunity to raise an old grievance: America’s long prison terms for five Cuban agents convicted of spying on Cuban exile organizations. Havana maintains that the agents were in the United States to prevent terrorist acts against Cuba and has called on the Obama administration to release them.

As for Mr. Gross, Cuba has said little. The government has not formally charged him with a crime. Cuban authorities have provided the United States almost no information, nor have they made any demands.

As a result, Washington and many American experts on Cuba have been left speculating about Havana’s intentions.

“The Cuban regime is obviously looking for some kind of U.S. concession, callously using the contractor as a bargaining chip,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
I guess Obama's bowing to dictators hasn't helped a whole lot with Cuba. Hope and change same.


At 7:26 PM, Blogger Walter Lippmann said...

If Mr. Gross had not violated Cuban law by secretly delivering satellite telephones and laptops after entering the island on a tourist visa, he most likely would not have been detained.

Mr. Gross's being Jewish had nothing to do with his arrest, it was his violation of Cuban law that got him into legal trouble.

The program for which he is employed is funded by the US Agency for International Development which is committed, under US law, to a strategy of "regime change" for Cuba. No government in the WORLD permits foreign operatives who are working towards its overthrow to conduct their activites freely.

I'd like to recommend a thoughtful discussion of this from the Cuban-American Alliance Education Fund based in Washington, DC.


Mr. Gross was, in fact, employed by an enterprise which is funded under Washington's "regime change" programs for Cuba, through the US Agency for International Development, USAID.

Washington budgets tens of MILLIONS of dollars every year for destabilization of Cuba.

Imagine if Israel caught some HAMAS activist passing out satellite telephones in Israel, wouldn't Israel have arrested that person?


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