Posts Tagged ‘Alan Gross’

Cuba: #AlanGross released – is Obama ending the embargo in exchange? UPDATED THROUGH THE DAY

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Alan Gross, the American political prisoner held by the Communist Cuban regime for five years, has been released.

As I have written before,

In December 2009, Alan P. Gross was arrested while in Cuba working as a U.S. government subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community. He was held in jail, and, in March, 2011 was convicted for “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state”.

What does “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state” means? It means that, in Cuba, attempting to provide access to the internet is a crime.

American Alan Gross Released From Cuba After 5 Years in Prison
Gross Is Headed to U.S. on Government Plane, Obama Administration Official Says

Administration officials have said that his captivity has precluded any modification in U.S.-Cuban relations, so his release could clear the way for discussions about a broader deal. President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement about Cuba from the White House at noon on Wednesday.

I fully expect Obama to declare an end to the embargo before year’s end. Will that be his “statement about Cuba from the White House at noon”?

UPDATE 10AM:
The remaining three of the Cuban Five were released in exchange: The Miami Herald (emphasis added),

The Cuban government had linked Gross’s release to the imprisonment of five Cubans convicted in 2001 of infiltrating South Florida military installations and spying on the exile community. The men, considered heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S.

The administration had repeatedly ruled out a swap, saying the USAID subcontractor wasn’t a spy and can’t be part of a spy-for-spy swap. But news reports Wednesday indicate that three Cubans were released in exchange for Gross. The other two of the so-called Cuban Five were previously released after completing their sentences.

Val Prieto:

This is a major setback for the opposition and dissident movements in Cuba. The Obama administration, by making this “deal”, has confirmed that they are OK with the repression, brutality, incarceration, and murder the castro regime foists upon the opposition. And I will once again say what I have been saying since day one of this farce of a presidential administration, for the record: faced with the fact that he is, by far, the worst President this nation has ever seen, and with no true positive legacy, Obama is relying on the low hanging fruit of the Cuban embargo to placate the left. Look for President Executive Action to undermine codified US Cuba policy.

Get ready. This is going to be one hell of a day.

Read also my post at Da Tech Guy Blog.

UPDATE 11AM:
“Normalizing” U.S.-Cuba relations means giving the Communist Cuban government a lifeline, at a particularly critical time, now that its sugar daddy Venezuela nears economic collapse as oil prices drop. Marco Rubio:

“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said in an interview. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

UPDATE 11:19

Guardian Washington bureau chief Dan Roberts,

UPDATE 11:25AM
CBS News affiliate in Miami stated Gross will not be with Obama at the WH press conference.

UPDATE 11:30
Betrayal: Vatican Brokered Secret U.S.-Cuba Talks

Pope Francis and the Vatican played a significant role in reopening diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. The Vatican not only hosted in-person meetings between Cuban and U.S. officials, but actively played a role in the discussions, according to senior Obama administration officials. The meeting to finalize the reopening of relations was also held at the Vatican this past fall. The Vatican sent a personal letter to President Obama regarding Cuban relations. “We haven’t received communications from the Pope of this nature,” said a senior adminstration official. “That gave us greater impetus and momentum.”

Rep. Ron de Santis:

This prisoner swap sends a signal to rogue regimes and actors that taking an American hostage can be leveraged into scoring policy concessions. This makes America less safe and emboldens the dictatorship in Cuba.

UPDATE 11:53
The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana

In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast.

Congress need not be consulted?

UPDATE 11:59AM
Is Cuba easing its embargo on American products and American travel?

12 noon:

Cuba no longer listed as state sponsor of terrorism.

UPDATE 12:16
Obama claims “Todos somos Americanos” – “we’re all Americans”. Not at all.

UPDATE 12:30PM
I was wondering, is Cuba easing Cuba’s embargo on American products and American travel? Will they not continue to shelter FARC & other known terrorists? Nothing on that in O’s speech.

Not in Raul Castro’s speech, either,

Castro said that he had spoken to Secretary Kerry about normalizing relations between the two country, adding that President Obama’s decision deserved “respect and gratitude.” He also thanked the Vatican, Pope Francis and Canada for their support in the process.

But he stressed there was still much work to be done: the US economic blockade remains in place, he said, causing “enormous damage to our people. It must end.”

Acknowledging that the blockade is established in law, Castro said that president Obama could modify its application, and he called on the US government to adopt measures which will benefit both countries.

“Recognizing that we have many fundamental differences on the subjects of national soveignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, we reaffirm our willingness discuss all of these subjects.”

Castro called on the US government to remove the obstacles between the countries, dividing families – specifically he called for the re-establishment of direct flights, postal deliveries and telecommunications.

“The progress we have already made shows that it is possible to find solutions to our problems,” he said.

Another question:
How is Obama going to prevent Cuba’s possible role in bypassing sanctions on Venezuela, Russia and Iran?

UPDATE 2PM
Alan Gross on TV thanking all who helped in the effort to release him.

CODA:
As Val Prieto put it, “and from the here’s a swift kick in the nuts department….”

Alan Gross returns to the United States, is greeted by an image of Che Guevara

LINKED TO
by
Memeorandum.
Pirate’s Cove. Thanks!
Hot Air. Thanks!
American Patriot. Thanks!
Right Wing News. Thanks!



The ongoing illegal alien border surge Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 28th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina debt: Judge orders non-stop negotiations
A US judge has ordered Argentina and its creditors to meet “continuously” to avoid the nation defaulting on its debts.

“Malvinas banner” display costs Argentina 30.000 Swiss francs fine
FIFA has fined the Argentine Football Association 30,000 Swiss francs (£19,540) as punishment for the displaying of a provocative banner relating to the Falkland Islands.

Pope sends message demanding justice on 20th anniversary of AMIA bombing
On the 20th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish community center bombing, the Argentine pontiff sent a message for “justice” to Argentina’s Israeli community and relatives of the 85 victims that resulted dead in the attack.

BOLIVIA
Russia Offers to Assist Bolivia with Nuclear Energy Program

BRAZIL
Temple in Brazil Appeals to a Surge in Evangelicals

Brazil frees up $13bn for economy
In a bid to stimulate the sluggish economy, the Brazilian central bank announces plans to reduce the amount commercial banks have to keep in reserve.

CHILE
Senator urges Chile to take ‘active’ role in Israel-Palestine conflict
Campaigners from the large Palestinian community calls for greater action in conflict while DC deputy warns against ‘bringing the conflict to Chile.’

COLOMBIA
Court tosses out cases against Chiquita over Colombia killings
Lawsuits accused Chiquita of assisting in killing of plaintiffs’ relatives by paying $1.7 million to paramilitary group

CUBA
Another Unsuccessful Negotiation for Alan Gross’ Release

“Migrants” from Castrogonia returned to their generous and benevolent slaveowners

ECUADOR
No Tweets for You: Correa’s Opponents Censored
Twitter Suspends Accounts of Known Ecuadorian Critics

HONDURAS
Why Not Set Up Refugee Kiosks in Honduras? Can We Consider Any Idea from Obama, McCain?

IMMIGRATION
Obama’s Border Summit Theater

JAMAICA
Chris Blackwell says ganja can turn Jamaica around
Entrepreneur urges protection of small farmer

LATIN AMERICA
Crime in Latin America
A broken system
Citizens’ security is the region’s biggest problem. Time to improve criminal justice

MEXICO
In disappearing Mexican jungle, it’s tribes vs. biologists

Rate of Girls Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border Alone Outpaces Boys, Study Finds
The number of unaccompanied girls caught crossing into the U.S. at the border with Mexico has grown far more quickly this year than the number of boys, according to a Pew Research Center report.

PANAMA
Panama’s biggest tourist draw turns 100

PERU
State-Run Petroperu Gets Its Hands Dirty, Hires Kids to Clean Oil Spill
Company Faced with Undeniable Evidence, Announces Immediate “Restructuring”

Previously uncontacted Peruvian Indians ‘could carry flu back to tribe’
Activists fear that virus contracted by Amazonian tribe members fleeing violent attacks could spread through vulnerable and isolated communities

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Grants Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Migrants

Looming Puerto Rico debt deadlines have investors nervous

URUGUAY
Mercosur is ‘not working’ because of protectionism and lack of arbitration
Mercosur is “not working” and is “stalled” admitted Uruguayan president Jose Mujica and blamed the situation on different visions of the block’s functioning, according to an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo.

VENEZUELA
The Hijacking of a Venezuelan Newspaper

Hugo Carvajal, a perspective

The week’s posts & podcast:
Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges

The latest from the O administration: Let’s make it easier for the Hondurans!

Ecuador and the ‘straitjacket’

Venezuela: Lopez on trial, Tower of David evacuation

En español: Dilma llega a la Unidad de Quemados

Immigration: The coyotes’ job, in dollars

Cuba-North Korea: Another weapons cargo?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Case study in “smart diplomacy”: Bolivia

Communism at work: Give up your car

The week’s podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


Cuba: Alan Gross’ family may now have enough to pay for his ransom

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Cuban prisoner Alan Gross settles lawsuit against Md. company

Lawyers filed a notice of the settlement Thursday in federal court in Washington. The settlement amount was not disclosed, and the agreement only covers Development Alternatives Inc., also known as DAI, not the government.

DAI’s chief executive officer said in a statement that settling the lawsuit, in which neither party admits fault, allows the company to work together with Gross’ family to bring him home.

Gross’ wife Judy, who has traveled to Cuba on several occasions to see her husband, said in the same statement that the family is “very pleased that DAI has committed to help address the injuries sustained by our family.

The $60million lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Cuban officials have suggested they would be willing to free Gross in exchange for the men. Four of the men remain in prison in the United States. One man who completed his sentence but was serving probation in the U.S. was recently allowed to return to Cuba permanently.

Since the US is not amiable to releasing the four, will Havana take the cash instead?

[Title typo corrected]

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 28th, 2013

ARGENTINA
Documentary (in Spanish):

BRAZIL
Brazil Nightclub Fire Kills at Least 245

Brazil Streetwalkers to Take English Lessons for 2014 World Cup; RELATED: The Proud Winner of the Miss Brazilian Prostitute Title Was Beaming

COLOMBIA
Security in Colombia
Fear of missing out
The second-biggest guerrilla group tries to muscle in on peace talks

Colombian Police Seize Over 4 Tons of Cocaine Bound for Mexico

CUBA
Alan Gross and his descent into hell

All talk
The government fails to promote new leaders—even though hard times loom

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes – 16-year-olds.

GUATEMALA
Edging back from the brink
A potential “failed state” is clawing its way back to something like normality

HONDURAS
Honduras can’t pay its bills, neglects services

MEXICO
As Deadly Mexican Cartel Loses Control, Heroin and Meth Trafficking Rise

Florence Cassez released in Mexico

PERU
EU-Colombia-Peru Aim for Trade Accord in Effect by First Quarter

Peru on the Right Path to Eradicating Child Malnutrition, UN Official Says

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Top 10 Most Wanted Captured by NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force

VENEZUELA
More than 50 people have been killed in a prison riot in western Venezuela, hospital staff say. [GRAPHIC PHOTOS] En Uribana ya van más de 50 muertos y 120 heridos (FOTOS)

Chavez Cancer Freezes Venezuela’s Overseas Oil Funding (h/t DP)

Venezuela’s $100 billion oil industry is seeing the first drop in funding in five years from some of its closest partners, as concern mounts President Hugo Chavez’s battle with cancer is creating a political vacuum, people familiar with the matter said.
The government, which for a decade has disclosed credit lines from China when they’re signed, has announced none since April, according to a report released Jan. 13 by the National Autonomous University of Mexico, known as UNAM. Russian and Indian companies are withholding planned investments in Venezuelan oilfields, according to eight oil company executives and consultants who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to talk about the matter publicly.

Hugo Chavez Starting More Treatment in Cuba, Hugo Chavez Respiratory Infection: Venezuelan President Overcomes Health Issue

Why President Hugo Chávez’s Twitter Account Went Silent

The Missing President

Chavez is not going quietly

Impunity in Venezuela
The price of justice
A family with a case against the government faces “extermination”

Gustavo Rios, Hugo Chavez Impersonator, Thinks Dictator’s Cancer Is No Laughing Matter

The week’s posts:
South American cocaine’s African routes

Brazil: Barcodes on Rio’s sidewalks

Venezuela: Hugo’s fake picture

Halitophobia! in Spanish, no less

Venezuela: Noelia’s plane seized by the government

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 10th, 2012

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s dubious poverty line
The six-peso diet
Rumbling stomachs, grumbling citizens

BRAZIL
Petrobras Seeks Partner for Deep-Water Gulf Operations . . . in the Gulf of Mexico

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Leader Expects More Violence in Short Term

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Escapes Major Damage After Most Severe Earthquake in Two Decades
The Wednesday quake proved the sturdiness of the Latin American nation’s structural codes

CUBA
Mauricio Claver-Carone: Cuba’s American Hostage
The White House calls for the release of Alan Gross but puts scant pressure on Havana to let him go.

Something More Than Numbers

MEXICO
Banned in Juarez

Second arrest in “Fast and Furious” killing

NICARAGUA
Iran’s Hezbollah Creeping Toward Our Doorstep

That makes the recent news from Israeli Radio that Iran has set up and supplied a Hezbollah training camp for 30 terrorists in Nicaragua near the Honduran border all the more significant. The base serves as a “meeting point for drug cartels” to acquire weapons and launder money, Israeli Radio says.

PERU
Peru’s Shining Path
Still smouldering
An attempt to form an extremist party

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico money laundering case ends with prison

VENEZUELA
Venezuela Seized a U.S. Flagged Ship and Has Been Holding It For a Week

Lost in the supermarket

Chavez’ Ever Morphing Petrorinoco Investment Instrument


The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 5th, 2011

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentine Prostitutes Fight for Union

BRAZIL
Brazilian Senate approves bill that would require journalists to have a degree in journalism

Governance in the Amazon
Pará-statals
A plan to create two new states

Protecting Brazil’s forests
Fiddling while the Amazon burns
Keeping the world’s biggest forest standing depends on greens, Amerindians and enlightened farmers working together—if lawmakers let them

CHILE
Chilean Student Protesters Vow to Continue Marches

Community TV, radio under attack in Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombia uncovers huge ‘phantom pupil’ subsidies scam
Colombia’s government has been paying out huge amounts in education subsidies for some 180,000 students who were falsely enrolled, officials say.

CUBA
RUSSIA AND CUBA TO STRENGTHEN MILITARY COOPERATION, via Gates of Vienna

Dictated Hashtags

Nothing says random kindness and senseless beauty like Che

Alan Gross: The two-year anniversary of America’s forgotten hostage

HONDURAS
Suspensions, drug and polygraph tests for Honduran police

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America Strives to Become the Greenest Continent

MEXICO
Iran in Mexico and the Caribbean: Building a Strategic Trampoline towards the US

Is the PRI ready to privatize PEMEX?

Alleged Drug War Tactics Under Fire

Fast & Furious: Justice Dept. details how it got statements wrong
FBI Criminal Informant Complicit in Brian Terry’s Death (PJM Exclusive)
From multiple sources come shocking charges of deadly ineptitude and an FBI coverup in Fast and Furious

New Fast and Furious Memo Backs Up Whistleblower Testimony
BREAKING NEWS on Fast and Furious: Holder Sweats as More Lies Uncovered by Feb. 3rd Memo

PUERTO RICO
John Stossel interviews Governor Luis Fortuño,

URUGUAY
Uruguay identifies military torture victim Julio Castro

VENEZUELA
Foreign Policy top 100 thinkers of the year

¿Celacomió? Absolutamente não, meu amigo.

Did Venezuela Really Compensate Cemex For Only Half of What it Wanted?

The week’s posts,
Chilean-style retirement in the cards?
At Real Clear World, CELAC: Chavez’s Latest “Alternative”

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Cuba: Bill Richardson denied access to Alan Gross

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Hopes cool for freedom of American jailed in Cuba

Hopes that a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba might soon be freed were dashed when former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said the Cuban government refused to let him meet with the prisoner.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Richardson described 62-year-old Alan Gross as an “American hostage.” He said he would not leave the island until he was allowed to see him at a military hospital where he is being held.

“My mission here as a private citizen is to secure the release of Alan Gross, an American hostage,” Richardson said late Thursday. “I’ve been informed by the Cuban government that I would not be allowed to see Alan Gross during my visit.”

Richardson said that he had been scheduled to depart Saturday, but that he told Cuban officials he would not leave until he was granted a meeting with Gross.

“I promised his wife, Judy, that I would see him,” the governor said.

It was not clear whether he had any further meetings scheduled Friday.

This is not Richardson’s first trip to Cuba on Gross’ behalf; last year he went on a similar mission in August of 2010 and came back with no results, either.

My question is, why is a former Cabinet member of the current administration doing these trips? Apparently (I’m not totally clear on this – why invite him, just to deny him access to Gross?) the Cuban government invited him this time, and yes, back when he was a Congressman, Richardson secured the release of three political prisoners.

That was in 1996.

It’s not the same to have a former Congressman, a former Cabinet member, to try this sort of negotiation; it’s just a matter of time before the Cuban regime makes Richardson leave.

The question now is, Will Cuba’s Dissidents Save Alan Gross? Capitol Hill Cubans have an interesting take.

27349

The postponed Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 5th, 2011

After last week’s Carnival got postponed due to hurricane damage, the Carnival is back, on Labor Day!

This week’s featured article is on the Cuban Communist regime’s war on freedom: Castro vs. the Ladies in White
Rocks, iron bars and sticks are no match for the gladiolas and courage of these peaceful Cuban protesters.

ARGENTINA
Brush fires in Argentina: No logran controlar varios focos de incendio en Córdoba
El gobierno provincial combate las llamas en la zona de Punilla y en Traslasierra, pero no consigue extinguir las llamas

Argentina Debates Foreign Land Buys

BRAZIL
China tries to win over Brazilian consumers

Brazil’s economy
Changing direction
Fiscal tightening, monetary loosening

CAYMAN ISLANDS
Are Tax Havens Moral or Immoral?

CHILE
Chile: All 21 aboard crashed military plane died

COLOMBIA
Brazil and Colombia
Less far apart
A wary friendship begins

CUBA
Hezbollah in Cuba for Attacks on Israeli Targets in the Americas

Cuba’s Terror Smoking Gun

Blogger sends uncensored news to Cuban cell phones
A Spanish blogger said the Cuban government cannot block or censor texts he’s sending to cell phones on the island.

Hello USA: Was it really 47 years ago?

Alan Gross: An American Prisoner in Cuba
The Castro government should not receive any concessions until USAID worker Alan Gross is released.

Castro regime marks another Sunday of repression

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
As Refugees From Haiti Linger, Dominicans’ Good Will Fades

ECUADOR
Chevron says rule of law no longer exists in Ecuador

JAMAICA
Jamaican Kingpin Pleads Guilty in New York

MEXICO
GunWalker Cover-Up Comes Apart At The Seams, and White House Cover-up Makes Continuation of Fast and Furious Investigation Imperative

More Confusion, Now From the F.T.

Mexico Sets Guinness Record for Largest Folk Dance Performance

Not surprisingly, Casino arson massacre in Mexico may be rooted in corruption

Fox’s “plan” in Mexico

The Rise of the Cult of Death
The origins of the Santa Muerte are a mystery even to adherents.

PANAMA
Panama’s ruling alliance is dead

Sunday Morning in the Park

PERU
Peru’s new government
Mining and the man
A calm start for Humala
. Mining, in the hands of a culture minister who’s a singer – what could go wrong?

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico businessman accused in $7M money laundering case

Ronald Fernandez, Scholar on Plight of Puerto Ricans, Dies at 67

VENEZUELA
Plastics

The Fonden Papers Part V: More Information Suddenly Available

The week’s posts,
New rumors on Fidel Castro
Tuesday night tango: 2011 Salon world championships
Plan Colombia?

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