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White House Condemns Prosecution of American Alan Gross in Cuba

3 years ago
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Hope for improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba suffered a setback this week as the White House condemned the island nation's plan to prosecute an American contractor, apparently suspected of being a spy by the Cubans.

Alan Gross, 61, was arrested in late 2009 in Cuba while working as a contractor for the U.S. government. He was said to involved in the distribution of satellite phones and computer equipment to Jewish people so they could communicate with Jews in other countries. On Friday, Cuban prosecutors said they would charge Gross with "acts against the integrity and independence" of their country, and seek a 20-year sentence.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the decision "compounded an injustice suffered by a man helping to increase the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people." Gross has been "unjustly detained and deprived of his liberty and freedom for the last 14 months," President Obama's spokeman said. He should be released "so he can come home to his wife and family," Gibbs insisted.

Gross' work in Cuba was part of a U.S. Agency for International Development democracy-promotion program that grew under former President George W. Bush. according to the Washington Post.

His lawyer, Peter J. Kahn, told the Post that Gross was "caught in the middle of a long-standing dispute between Cuba and the United States." His family lives in Potomac, Md.

Folo Tom Diemer on Twitter http://twitter.com/tomdiemer

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Moonwind

Again, he was in an Anti American territory, and knew the consequences of that, then handing out anything, especially electronic equipment, well the guy is certifiable at the very least. The White House should have stayed out of it. This man was a Bush flunky, and should have known no one was there to hold his hand while he broke the laws of Cuba. See ya in 20 years.

February 06 2011 at 4:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
carissara

Gross was using US gov't funds to help a very small group of jews... he and his organization should be persecuted in the Us for misuse of funds, instead of helping the large Catholic populatin.
In Cuba he was distributing illegal phones... you break the law you go to jail.....
Gross has broken the law he deserves to be in jail, just because he is an American does not put him above other countries laws.

February 06 2011 at 7:53 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
cwaged1002

USA needs to release the Cuban5 so they can return to their families in Cuba. They were not spying on the USA. They were tried in Florida, home of the Batistan Cubans. One can hardly say they were given a fair trial. They were given life sentences and the US gov refuses to allow their wives and children to enter the country to visit them. How can the US gov be such hypocrites?

February 06 2011 at 6:12 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Mandoist

Of course, it's a pity for citizens trapped within a country run by such dictatorships as in Cuba. But American citizens know, or should know, the dangers going in...especially business people. COUNTLESS numbers of Americans have been detained in the past, so I gotta ask...

Why the concern by the US Government over this particular 61 year-old American contractor? Oh, I see the reason in the last paragraph:

"[he] was part of a U.S. Agency for International Development democracy-promotion program..."

Must be nice to be special when you're in a bind in a foreign country.

February 06 2011 at 5:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eyeforeye42

Do you think Cuba detests persecution of people on Guantanamo?

February 06 2011 at 4:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
smihu9

Should read the fine print when dealing with Cuba. DA!

February 05 2011 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
kitsaplaw

What? The Cuban government is going to charge Ms. Gross with something and put him on trial? Where would they have gotten a crazy idea like that? Shouldn't they had simply decided he was an enemy combatant, and held him indefinitely without charging him with a crime or putting him on trial? Maybe the United States could rent a room at Gauntanamo to hold him?

February 05 2011 at 8:28 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
priority109

why did cuba permit this guy in ? they most definitely knew what his itinerary was.

February 05 2011 at 8:04 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
pvtplt1

"He was said to be involved in the distribution of satellite phones and computer equipment to Jewish people so they could communicate with Jews in other countries". Am I missing something??? Is this really against the law in Cuba??? If we change the words Jewish and Jews to any other ethnicity is it still against the law???

February 05 2011 at 7:13 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pvtplt1's comment
pulsefire

Yes, it's against the law to do that in Cuba and no, it wouldn't make a difference if Jewish was changed to Buddhist. Cuba's a dictatorship. Castro doesn't want the Cuban people to have unlimited access to the internet. Do you really think that the Jewish community could have kept these cell phones a secret? They probably would have shared them with anyone interested in hearing from the outside world.

February 05 2011 at 8:01 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
María Eugenia Sáez

but it condones Cuban terrorist Posada Carriles' actions in Venezuela & the US

February 05 2011 at 6:16 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

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