Posts Tagged ‘Alan P. Gross’

Cuba’s American hostage

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

My latest article at Da Tech Guy’s, Cuba’s American hostage, Alan P. Gross.

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

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.

Related:
A Cuban immigrant to Ecuador attempted suicide when denied entry.

Castro’s “Murder, Inc.”

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

The Colombian graffiti Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

LatinAmerFollowing 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.

ARGENTINA
Drugs in Argentina
Southward marching powder

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.

Argentina police raid brothels
Raids on brothels in and around Buenos Aires lead to the rescue of almost 100 women forced into prostitution, Argentine police say.

Video: NSFW Pro-abortion and gay activists attack the Catholic cathedral in San Juan (h/t Gates of Vienna)

BOLIVIA
Chile will not cede territory to Bolivia: FM

BRAZIL
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.

World Cup 2014: aerial view of collapsed Brazil football stadium
Three people have been killed in an accident at a Sao Paulo stadium that is due to host the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup

Brazilian who auctioned off virginity wants to sell it again Catarina Migliorini claims that deal last year was never consumated [sic] and she is now looking for another buyer

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Must Balance Growth and Spending

CUBA
Reuters (Poor and Irresponsible) “Analysis” of Cuba’s Banking Woes

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.

23 UNPACU activists arrested in violent crackdown Santiago de Cuba

Arms Smuggling versus Equestrian Tourism: Which matters most?

Thanksgiving Terror From Friends of The Council on Foreign Relations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Gay U.S. ambassador faces backlash in Dominican Republic

ECUADOR
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.

A look at the traders behind the China-Ecuador-U.S. oil triangle

HONDURAS
Elections in Honduras Advantage, the old guard

Honduras ruling party hope wins presidency on vow to tame gangs

JAMAICA
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.

Jamaican authorities seize 3,300 warheads, and ‘Ja Fighting A War’ (h/t Gates of Vienna)

MEXICO
EPN’s first year

Monthly Mexico Media Roundup

PANAMA
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.

North Korea agrees fine with Panama for ship’s release

PARAGUAY
Paraguay senator loses immunity after public pressure

PERU
Peru’s government Partners in crime A spy casts a shadow on the president

PUERTO RICO
Research and Markets: Puerto Rico Oil and Gas Markets Outlook to 2025

URUGUAY
Mientras dice que “no defiende la marihuana”, Mujica pide que ‘el mundo ayude a Uruguay’ en su ‘experimento’ con marihuana.

Wine Finds: Malbec from Uruguay is a restrained treat

VENEZUELA
Maduro’s government uses ambulances for posting flyers while hospitals lack ambulance service:

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.

Pero Tenemos Free Gas 

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

Venezuela less influential in LatAm, says Oppenheimer

Mexico: No more Pact

Brazil: Will the stadium meet the deadline? You betcha.

Ecuador: Oil bidders not quite chomping at the bit

Argentina: Same old, same old

Shearith Israel’s Thanksgiving

Cuba closing its consulates in the US

Mexico: Teen hit man sent back to USA

En español: Terapia intensiva

Ecuador: How China took control of Ecuador’s oil

In case you missed it, Che in 10 quotes

Honduras: What next?

At Da Tech Guy’s Blog: Colombia: The controversy started by . . . Justin Bieber?

UPDATE:
Linked to by Devil’s Excrement. Thank you!


Jessie Jackson heads to Colombia anyway

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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?

Cuba: Castro’s pawn

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

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.


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

Cuba: US won’t swap 5 spies for Alan Gross

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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.”

Gross’s supporters

, 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.


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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The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 19th, 2011

LatinAmerLATIN AMERICA
India Eyes Latin America
The South Asian giant’s burgeoning presence in the Western Hemisphere is unambiguously good for both Latin America and the United States.

ARGENTINA
Cristina, Guevara, la patria liberada

Big Fears on Big Food Prices

BOLIVIA
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.

BRAZIL
Bush, Bismarck and Brazil

Brazilian politics
A packed chessboard

The Road to Rio is America’s Road to Ruin

CHILE
Rescued Chilean miner in rehab

New Chilean telescopes push the boundaries of astronomy
With two gigantic telescopes coming in the next decade, Chile is gaining a reputation as one of the best places in the world for stargazers.

COLOMBIA
Libyan rebels execute 10 Colombians thought to be FARC mercenaries

Paramilitaries and Colombia’s government
The biggest fish so far
: Jorge Noguera

Six Months for Letting Grandma Do His Laundry

Colombian mountain cyclists try to pedal out of poverty toward glory in Europe

CUBA
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

Taxes in Cuba
Get used to it
The Castros’ subjects get acquainted with that other sure thing

Trips Back to Cuba Draw Fire

GUATEMALA
Big Labor’s Yanqui Imperialism
The U.S. trade representative is trying to deny due process to Guatemala in defiance of free-trade agreement rules.

MEXICO
Good news: ATF’s Gunwalker may have helped Mexican cartels buy rocket launchers

Cloward-Piven: The Ultimate Goal of Gunwalker?
It’s hard to think of a more logical reason for Gunwalker to exist.

Free speech in Mexico
Be careful what you Tweet

PANAMA
Time for Another Reminder

Panamanian politics
With friends like these

PUERTO RICO
Masked intruders rob casino in Puerto Rico

Officials: Teen goes on rampage at Puerto Rico school, stabbing 37 classmates with needle

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan government providing support to terrorist Carlos the Jackal

Human Rights Court rules in favor of Leopoldo Lopez, slaps Chavez tactic of illegally disqualifying opposition

Chavez is in Cuba for a 5th round of chemo, instead of going to the UN this week. He claims it’s “the last round.” Evo Morales stopped in Caracas and they both flew together.

Since Chavez is not going to NY, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit him in Caracas on his way back from the UN Assembly.

Smoke and Mirrors in the Chavez Revolution: Oil and Research

This is the lawyer of Chavez defending what cannot be defended

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

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