My latest article at Da Tech Guy’s, Cuba’s American hostage, Alan P. Gross.
Posts Tagged ‘Alan P. Gross’
Very bad news:
Alan P. Gross, the American who’s been in prison for over four years, has started a hunger strike.
Gross, 63, had already lost over 100lbs and has a large lump growing on his back, which under the “excellent free healthcare” Cubans endure are considered “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.” He said in a statement (h/t Babalu)
that he was frustrated by the continued lack of effort by the U.S. government to orchestrate his release.
“I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal,” Gross said in a statement released by his attorney. “Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in ending this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters.”
In practical terms, the Cuban government is holding Gross hostage over the release of the Cuban Five, men convicted in federal court on espionage charges. Two of the men have been released from prison and returned to Cuba.
Sen. Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke about Gross on the Senate floor,
“And the clock is ticking for Alan Gross. On December 4th, 2009, Alan Gross, a private sub-contractor for the U.S. government, working to bring information to the Cuban people, was arrested in Cuba. Mr. Gross is a 64-year old development professional who worked in dozens of countries around the world with programs to help people get access to basic information.
“Since 2009, he has been detained in Villa Marista – a prison in Havana notorious for its treatment of political prisoners by the Cuban National Security Agency. This is not a minimum security prison where foreigners are routinely held. It is a harsh, repressive prison –reserved for Cuban dissidents.
“He is still being held at Villa Marista, and so I come to the floor to urge my colleagues – indeed, to urge the Administration – to do all it can to free Mr. Gross, and keep pressure on the Castro regime.
“After serving four years of a 15 year sentence, this 64 year old American’s mental health is reported to be deteriorating and his life may well be in danger.
“The case of Alan Gross is only one example of why we cannot let up until the dead weight of this oppressive regime is lifted – once and for all — from the backs of 11 million Cubans living on that island nation, isolated from the world.”
Gross’ situation is desperate.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
Following Justin Bieber’s acts of vandalism, Colombian and Brazilian authorities are having to deal with an outburst of graffiti. Maybe they ought to ban the little twerp from coming back, or better yet, make him clean it up with his own two hands.
Authorities have focused on seizing drugs, not dismantling the organisations that peddle them. “This strategy is futile,” says former under-secretary of security for Buenos Aires province, Diego Gorgal. “It doesn’t change the supply, demand, or price of drugs.” It is also poorly executed. According to the latest International Narcotics Control Strategy Report produced by the US State Department, Argentine security forces seized 12 tonnes of cocaine in 2010; in the first six months of 2012 they confiscated only 3.4 tonnes. Operation Northern Shield, an initiative to improve Argentina’s border security through the installation of seven radars in the north, has flopped. Only three have been activated. Their backup? Forty-year-old aircraft.
Fire ravages Oscar Niemeyer building
Authorities in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, fight a major blaze at a landmark building designed by modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, The Latin America Memorial.
D.C. Jews press Obama to secure subcontractor’s release from Cuban jail Alan Gross was arrested in 2009 while on a mission to hook up Cuba’s small Jewish community to the Internet; a rally planned for Dec. 3 is meant to raise awareness for his cause.
Gay U.S. ambassador faces backlash in Dominican Republic
U.S. trial ends over Ecuador pollution judgment against Chevron: The case is Chevron Corp v. Steven Donziger et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-0691.
Uncovering Jamaica’s Jewish Past In the great Caribbean melting pot, one group is largely overlooked: Jewish refugees who settled centuries ago. Their descendants are unearthing graveyards to reclaim a piece of history.
EPN’s first year
Update on the Chong Chon Gang: Panama Reverses: North Korean Crew Not Freed
Organized crime prosecutor Nahaniel Murgas first said only the ship’s captain, first mate and a Korean official who watched the crew would continue to be detained and face charges of arms trafficking. He appeared later in the afternoon at the base where the crew members were being held and changed his version, saying only the ship was legally free to go. He left without further comment.
Mientras dice que “no defiende la marihuana”, Mujica pide que ‘el mundo ayude a Uruguay’ en su ‘experimento’ con marihuana.
Maduro’s government uses ambulances for posting flyers while hospitals lack ambulance service:
— German (@GerCortez) November 27, 2013
Venezuela elections: Empty shelves and a skyscraper squat
Venezuelans go to the polls in local and regional elections on 8 December that are being widely seen as a referendum on the six-month presidency of Nicolas Maduro. Opponents accuse him of leading the country to economic ruin, but he insists his reforms are essential and popular.
It’s [sic] means this entire thing, the whole of the macroeconomic mess, all the crazy dislocations of the last few years, the raspaíto, the impossible-to-find milk, the shoving matches for perniles, the cars that suddenly jump up in price as they roll out of the showroom, all of it (and, much worse, all of what’s to come) all of it is – to a much greater extent than almost anyone realizes – just a knock-on effect from the financial chasm left in PDVSA’s finances by the gasoline subsidy!
China + oil = deal CITIC Mining Survey Agreement With Venezuela: Another Boondoggle?
The week’s posts:
Venezuela: “21st Century socialism” = same old Communism
At Da Tech Guy’s Blog: Colombia: The controversy started by . . . Justin Bieber?
Linked to by Devil’s Excrement. Thank you!
As mentioned earlier, Jessie Jackson wants to mediate the release of American Kevin Scott Sutay, even when Colombia’s president doesn’t want him to:
Colombia’s Santos Won’t Authorize Jesse Jackson Role in Kidnap Case
Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said he won’t authorize a plan by Marxist rebels to have civil-rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson help facilitate the release of a U.S. war veteran they kidnapped. Worth remembering:
During the peace process, there is no cease-fire deal so the violence continues. In one of the deadliest strikes in years, the FARC killed 19 soldiers in two attacks on July 20, Colombia’s Independence Day.
Jackson says he’s heading to Colombia anyway:
Jackson said he still intends to travel to Colombia in the coming days in hopes of working out an agreement.
“The American is free, but he cannot be retrieved, so he indeed is not free,” Jackson said. “He’s no longer being held by FARC. He’s being held by a lack of access.”
Jackson spoke those words wshile in Cuba, where he was denied access to another American, Alan Gross.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson ended a four-day visit to Cuba on Monday without getting to visit a U.S. government development subcontractor who is serving a 15-year sentence in the Caribbean nation.
The civil rights activist said he had requested access to Alan Gross of Maryland, but island authorities told him it couldn’t be arranged in time.
Carlos Eire translates the subtext, and asks questions:
In other words: Jesse Jackson was denied the chance to trade Alan Gross for the four imprisoned spies who are known as the “Cuban Five.” He also failed to have any impact on negotiations between the government of Colombia and the FARC terrorists. And these failures are being reported as something unexpected.
What these crack reporters fail to cover is perhaps more significant than what they report. Above all, they fail to raise essential questions: Who appointed Jesse Jackson to the role of mediator? Who is paying for his trip?
And one more question: Who will be paying for the trip to Colombia?
Mary O’Grady asks about Alan P. Gross, now in his 4th year of imprisonment,
Cuba Admits Gross Is a Pawn
Is Washington engaged in a negotiation with Havana to try to free U.S. Agency for International Development contractor Alan Gross from a Cuban jail? If so, what’s on the table?
From the looks of it, Cuba wants “the release of several Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S.” in exchange for Gross’ freedom, rather than a ransom.
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.
[Title typo corrected]
Documentary (in Spanish):
Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes – 16-year-olds.
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.
The week’s posts:
South American cocaine’s African routes
Alan Gross, the American prisoner held in Cuba, won’t be released soon; he was arrested on December 3, 2009, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
US official rejects Cuba’s offer to swap contractor Alan Gross for 5 Cuban spies
Cuba’s offer to swap U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross for five Cuban spies convicted in Miami is not at all acceptable to Washington, a senior State Department official affirmed Monday on the third anniversary of Gross’ arrest.
Asked directly if a Gross-for-spies swap might be possible during President Barack Obama’s next four years in the White House, the official replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
“We reject the notion of linkage,” added the official, who met with several journalists in Miami but asked for anonymity under State Department procedures. “There is no parallel between the two cases.”
The US has put very little pressure on Cuba. Historically, the Communist regime ignores “pressure.”
, called Friday on the U.S. government to send a high-level envoy to Havana and seek release of the ailing humanitarian worker.
The Gross family is also suing both the U.S. Agency for International Development and its contractor DAI, which sent him to Cuba, charging they failed to properly train and prepare him for a mission they likely knew was high-risk and possibly violated Cuban laws.
Neither agency has paid his salary to his wife and family while he has been for three years sharing a small cell with two other prisoners in a Cuban military jail for handing out Internet hardware and software to the small Cuban Jewish community — a USAID project aimed at moving the communist-ruled island nation toward democracy.
Alan Gross, 63, has lost over 100lbs and has a large lump growing on his back, which under the “excellent free healthcare” Cubans endure are considered “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.”
Or, as they say in Cuba, achaques de la edad.
This is what he looked like before his imprisonment,
This is what he looks like now,
The Obama administration’s handling of the Gross case telegraphs a message: Ben Barber
When I served on U.S. aid projects overseas in places such as Yemen, Egypt and Pakistan, I was certain that in case I should be kidnapped or arrested that the U.S. government would stand by me and my colleagues in the field. Failure to do so in the case of Gross sends a devastating signal to thousands of Americans working overseas on U.S.-funded assistance projects.
In fact when I searched the USAID website for evidence it has vigorously tried to help Gross get out of jail, I found only one bland paragraph inside a speech before Congress by the Latin America assistant administrator Mark Feierstein on March 29.
Smart diplomacy, so smart it reminds us of Benghazi.
Cross-posted at Fausta’s blog.
Argentine Prostitutes Fight for Union
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.
Latin America Strives to Become the Greenest Continent
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
John Stossel interviews Governor Luis Fortuño,
Cristina, Guevara, la patria liberada
Evo Morales llegará a Cuba el domingo para reunirse con Raúl Castro
El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, llegará el domingo a Cuba para una visita de trabajo de dos días durante la que se reunirá con el gobernante Raúl Castro, informó este sábado un comunicado oficial.
Bush, Bismarck and Brazil
Bill Richardson went to Cuba to intercede on Alan Gross’ behalf and was resoundedly turned down: Alberto de la Cruz writes on how the Obama State Dept. authorized Richardson to offer concessions in exchange for Gross
Time for Another Reminder
Masked intruders rob casino in Puerto Rico
Since Chavez is not going to NY, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit him in Caracas on his way back from the UN Assembly.
The week’s posts:
The AFL-CIO vs. Guatemala
Mexico’s cartels vs bloggers, part 3
Mexican cartels now going after bloggers, part 2
Venezuela to withdraw from the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes
At The Green Room,
Mexican cartels now going after bloggers