03/19/13 - New Voices - Why Castro Should Free Alan Gross
Alan Gross has lost over 100 pounds since his incarceration in Cuba 4 years
Alan Gross, a 64 year old Jewish contractor for the U.S. government
pro-democracy program, USAID, has been held in Cuba since 2009 when he was
arrested for bringing satellite phones with capability of connecting to the
Internet to Cuba's Jewish community as part of his USAID responsibilities.
Cuba accused and convicted him of "Acts against the Independence and
Territorial Integrity of the State." Cuba's national news agency, ACN,
described Gross's crime as participation" in a subversive project of the US
government to try to destroy the Revolution, by way of the use of
info-communication systems out of the control of the authorities, in order
to promote destabilizing plans against various social sectors." Gross was
sentenced to serve 15 years in prison in Cuba, where he has suffered severe
In the past three and a half years, several US congressmen and Senators
have traveled to Cuba to try to secure Gross' release, but have so far been
unsuccessful. Wife Judy Gross has filed a 60 million dollar lawsuit against
the United States government blaming them for sending Gross to Cuba on an
ill-prepared mission, and hoping to pressure the government to proceed with
more serious negotiations. In the absence of more serious discussions
between the U.S. and Cuban governments, I've taken the liberty of
addressing Cuban President Raul Castro with some talking points of my own.
1. Last year, Rene Gonzalez, one of the "Cuban Five" prisoners convicted in
Florida of spying against the United States, and whom Cuban politicians
have often hinted they want released in exchange for Gross, was granted
2 week leave to visit his brother sick with cancer. Castro should at least
grant Gross' similar request for time to visit his elderly mother who is
also sick with cancer.
2. With the number of political prisoners in Cuba doubling since last
year, Gross probably wouldn't be missed too much if he were freed.
3. Both Republican and Democratic- as well as International politicians-
such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Jerry Moran (R.
senator and advocate for trade with Cuba), and The U.N. Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention have all called for Gross' release.
4. Cuba may be known for its fancy cigars and sandy beaches, but it kind of
gets old after being there in jail for 1189 days (as of the date of the
writing of this article).
5. By freeing Gross, Castro could stop the weekly vigils and singing of
Jewish songs outside of the Cuban interest section in Washington.
6. According to the website Info Cuba, swimmers at Cuban beaches should
be wary of Sea-lice in the water which can lead to painful and itchy skin
eruptions. Tourists are also warned that "it is not suggested to drink
large amounts of tap water" while in the country. If Castro pays any
attention to the 10 plagues visited upon a prior ruler who failed to let
Jews leave his country, he might want to be more careful about detaining
7. Several U.S. politicians have indicated that Gross' detainment is an
obstacle to increased trade between the U.S. and Cuba. It may not be the
smartest idea to block off your chances of trading with the world's largest
economy, producer of desired items such as cars made since 1960 or
Sponge Bob dolls.
8. So far since his arrest Gross' has lost over 100 pounds, experiences
trouble walking, has developed a mass on his right shoulder, and suffers
from degenerative arthritis.
9. We know Cuba's Jewish community is small, but keeping Gross in jail is
just not the right way for Castro to help the community get a minyan.
And the final reason:
10. Alan Gross is a person, not a bargaining chip.
Visible links 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Phillip_Gross 2.
4. http://www.cubainfos.net/thingstoknow.html 5.
6. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/27/automobiles/27MILL.html?_r=0 7.
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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