Posts Tagged ‘Alan P. Gross’

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

Argentine Prostitutes Fight for Union

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

Governance in the Amazon
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

Chilean Student Protesters Vow to Continue Marches

Community TV, radio under attack in Chile

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.


Dictated Hashtags

Nothing says random kindness and senseless beauty like Che

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

Suspensions, drug and polygraph tests for Honduran police

Latin America Strives to Become the Greenest Continent

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

John Stossel interviews Governor Luis Fortuño,

Uruguay identifies military torture victim Julio Castro

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”


The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 19th, 2011

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.

Cristina, Guevara, la patria liberada

Big Fears on Big Food Prices

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

Brazilian politics
A packed chessboard

The Road to Rio is America’s Road to Ruin

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.

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

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

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.

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

Time for Another Reminder

Panamanian politics
With friends like these

Masked intruders rob casino in Puerto Rico

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

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


Jimmy comes back empty-handed

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Remember that Jimmy Carter was heading to Cuba? He was invited by the Cuban government, and supposedly was going to get Alan Gross released.

Well, he got there, dressed like the natives, kissed up to the Castro brothers, called Fidel “an old friend”,

asked the US to release five convicts,

Bypassing ancillary issues such as the lack of freedom on the island and the enslavement of 11-million Cubans, Carter instead demanded that the U.S. release the Cuban 5. Those are the same five convicted Cuban spies who are serving prison time for espionage and the murder of four innocent American pilots who were shot down over international waters by Castro MiGs.

met with Yoani Sanchez, her husband, Claudia Cadelo and Laritza Diversent, and Alan Gross remains in jail

when the 86-year-old ex-president flew off in the afternoon without Alan Gross on board, it dashed the hopes of Washington officials and relatives who had hoped Carter would be able to bring the Maryland native home.

The Obama administration missed the opportunity months ago when it eased restrictions on Cuba without demanding Gross’s released.

As Instapundit puts it,

And we probably have decades of similar stuff to look forward to once Barack Obama is an ex-president.


Cross-posted at The Green Room and Real Clear World.


Oh look, Jimmy’s going to visit his old pals

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

It’ll be like a school reunion. I bet they might even play dominoes and drink beer, like old men do all over the Caribbean,
Jimmy Carter To Visit His Favorite Communist Dictators
Jimmy’s heading there to get Alan Gross released, but don’t expect much anything else – aside from the usual kissing-up to Communists.


The Obama goes to Latin America Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 21st, 2011

LatinAmerPresident Obama and his family are completing their visit to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. Mary O’Grady explains Why Obama Went to Brazil
There’s a chance to build a new foreign policy alliance that disdains dictators like Hugo Chávez.

As to the good reason for such a trip, consider the shared geopolitical interests between the U.S. and the biggest democracy in Latin America. Although former President Lula da Silva, also from the Workers’ Party, did almost nothing to deregulate a mostly unfree economy over his eight years in office, he did manage to respect the central bank reforms carried out by his predecessor, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. As a result, after decades of inflationary chaos caused by central bank financing of government deficits, Brazil has now had vastly improved price stability for more than a decade. Ending the cycle of repeated devaluations is enabling the formation of a substantial middle class, and it is shaping a nation that increasingly wants to be part of the modern, global economy.

If Brazil is seeking rapprochement with the U.S., it is a welcome development for the entire hemisphere. As an ally on the fundamentals, like opposition to torture in Cuban jails, Brazil could be part of a long-awaited regional push to denounce human rights abuses. It might also come in handy next year when Venezuela holds presidential elections. Mr. Chávez has said that even if he loses, he won’t step down, and the commander of the army has agreed.

That could make for a situation not unlike what is unfolding in Libya today. If the U.S. and Brazil are singing from the same hymn book, it will help. It’s only too bad the commander in chief who was starting a war didn’t have the good sense to return home after the meeting in Brasilia.

Obama’s trip is in the headlines throughout the hemisphere.

Flying down to Rio
Latin Americans like Barack Obama. They would like him even more if his rhetoric of partnership was matched by policy changes

President Obama’s Trip: Hope in Latin America’s Race and Inclusion

Argentina Unions Call Off Strike

Obama cancels public-square appearance in Rio

Obama thrills Brazil slum residents with visit to impoverished area of Rio de Janeiro

The Perigee Has Landed

Obama will be accompanied by 120 Secret Service agents in Santiago de Chile
United States Secret Service agents are collaborating with Chilean police to establish security measures for US President Barack Obama when he arrives in Santiago next Monday

Nuclear Energy, Japan and the Implications for Obama’s Visit to Chile

A view from the ‘other’ Chile

Colombia says it found Venezuelan weapons on its territory

Two Female Members of Cuban Opposition detained by Castro State Security

Cuban-American relations
A Gross miscarriage of justice?

Cuba journalist survives ‘hell’ and emerges ready to fight

Chevron Appeals to Proceed in Ecuador

Libia tiene apoyo en A. Latina: Chávez, Alba y Ecuador condenan intervención extranjera

Obama to visit El Salvador at drugs crossroads

Haiti held a runoff election yesterday; the results are due next week

Preliminary results are expected March 31 and final results likely won’t be announced until April 16, election officials said.

Critical presidential vote in Haiti marred by delays
Haitians began casting ballots in crucial presidential and legislative elections amid some delays, but poll workers said they don’t expect the chaos that marked last November’s vote.

Aristide Roils Haiti Election

Today’s Video: Aristide’s arrival

No school; strikes, standoffs, and now death

The government of Mexico backs emigrant workers in suit against U.S. firm

Mexican Asylum Seekers Form Coalition in Texas

A Free Man Still Looks Over His Shoulder in Mexico

Obama’s ambassador to Mexico resigns over WikiLeaks documents

Nicaragua headed for one-man rule — again

President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status Submits Report to Obama

Puerto Ricans in Central Florida’s Tourism Hub Are Driving Hispanic Growth

Chavez Freezes Venezuela’s Non-Existing Nuclear Program

Generic Revolutionary Mismanagement at Venezuela’s Government Generic Plant

The week’s posts,
In the headlines: ‘my Dear Obama, our son’, French flying over Libya, Obama in Rio
The Consequences of Trade Inaction in Latin America
Chavez rails against the boobs
44 Senate Republicans write Harry Reid on FTAs with Colombia & Panama


After the Gross sentence: More concessions from Obama?

Monday, March 14th, 2011

President Obama eased restrictions on Cuba while missing the opportunity to ask that Alan P. Gross be freed. Now Gross has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. What next?

The Wall Street Journal raises a scenario,

Jail Term Complicates U.S.-Cuba Relations

Philip Peters, a Cuba analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute who has followed the case closely, said Mr. Gross’s situation makes things more difficult between the two countries by highlighting the existence of ongoing covert U.S. operations on the island. But he said Mr. Obama may choose to continue ahead with changes in policy that he sees “in the national interest.”

“In the national interests” of Cuba, perhaps?

Castro’s reforms are a lie
Video in Spanish,


Cuba: Alan Gross sentenced to 15 yrs in prison

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

American contractor found guilty in Cuba

A Cuban court on Saturday found U.S. contractor Alan Gross guilty of crimes against the state and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, a verdict that is sure to have sweeping repercussions for already-sour relations between Washington and Havana.
The court said prosecutors had proved their case that Gross, 61, was working on a “subversive” program paid for by the United States that aimed to bring down Cuba’s revolutionary system. Prosecutors had sought a 20-year sentence.
The Maryland native was arrested in December 2009 while on a USAID backed democracy-building project. The U.S. government and Gross’s family say he was working to improve Internet access for the island’s Jewish community, and should be released.

Alberto de la Cruz:

The harsh sentence handed down for Gross is no doubt a bold message sent to the Obama administration by the Cuban dictatorship to either pay up or suffer the consequences. In essence, it is no different than the messages sent by other criminal organizations who cut off a finger of a hostage and mail it to their family members. The Castro dictatorship does not fear the Obama administration, nor have they been given any reason to fear them. And while the U.S. government continues to wait for the Castro Mafia to “do the right thing” and refusing to deal with them from a position of strength, that Mafia will continue to challenge and embarrass the U.S. before the entire world.

In the meantime, Alan Gross and his family will continue to suffer the brutality of the Castro regime, ultimately paying the price for the weakness and ineptitude of the Obama White House and State Department.

Smart diplomacy results.


The carnival week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Cada cinco días sale un Narcojet del país

Argentina’s Supreme Court demands government balance allocation of state advertising

Smuggling Scandal Shakes Bolivia

Bolivia’s Evo Morales
The calle gets restive
Inflation, shortages and scandals have caught up with Latin America’s hitherto most popular leftist leader

Weary Brazilians seek escape from Carnival crowds

89 million condoms to be given out at Brazil’s Carnival

Already Lofty Interest Rates in Brazil Get Even Higher

30 Billion USD 2011 budget cut

Colombia’s Leader Looks Beyond the U.S.

Fidel’s Ideal Road Map to Solve the Alan Gross Case

The Motorcycle Drones On

Gross trial gets under way in Havana

Cuba and the internet
Wired, at last
The battle of the blogs begins

Bohemia Lagoon

Jaime de Marichalar y su exabrupto anticastrista

A cure worse than the disease

Obama meets with El Salvador’s president

A journey to Jacmel
Little miracles

Music and crime in the Caribbean
Bad news for Buju Banton

I have been reading about – but not blogging on – the Gunwalker scandal. Via Instapundit, Robert Farago has three explanations on The Real Reason the ATF Smuggled Guns Into Mexico: 1. To catch the “big fish”, 2. Empire building, and 3. ATF Agents enabled smuggled guns to line their own pockets, concluding that,

The amount of money—cash money—flowing in the drug trade is beyond your wildest imagination. Tens of billions of dollars. The Mexican drug lords have corrupted officials on both sides of the border, at the highest possible levels. Why not the ATF? Money talks, guns walk. Makes perfect sense.

No Man’s Land: The Mystery of Mexico’s Drug Wars

Heads of U.S., Mexico to Meet as Tensions Rise
Violence From Drug War to Top Agenda as Calderón Visits Obama in Washington

Calderon and the Mexico Mess

U.S., Mexico Unveil Deal to End Trucking Dispute

Calderon: WikiLeaks caused severe damage to U.S.-Mexico relations

Obama’s Mexico Standoff

The elephant in the room, via Gancho

Murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry Was Armed with … Beanbags?
A political policy that left a Border Patrol agent facing lethally armed men with only a beanbag gun is likely responsible for his death

US to Nicaragua’s opposition: We can dance, but you lead

The Liberation of Lori Berenson

Minute-by-minute: A recount of the Peru’s electoral debate

Puerto Rico sweetens film incentives
Looks to lure biz as some states trim offerings

Qaddafi Said to Accept Venezuelan Offer for Help

The Chavez Doctrine

Qaddafi’s Pal in Caracas
Hugo Chávez had better hope he doesn’t end up like his dictator friends

That Sirocco breeze from Libya….

Slaughtering the Innocents that Americans Won’t Slaughter: MS-13 Gang Members Wreak Bloody Havoc Thanks to Open Borders Policy

The week’s posts and podcasts,
Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn, and Hugo Chavez to the rescue!, also in The Greenroom.
Podcast: President Calderon meets Pres BO
Mexican drug cartels in the USA: The new Mafia
Is Castro Gaddafi’s pimp?
Caracas’s high-rise to nowhere


The last monday in February Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 28th, 2011

This week in Latin American news: Michelle Bachmann went to Colombia and Mexico, Obama’s heading to South America, and Ortega loves Gadaffi.

Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru Move Toward Energy Integration

Obama’s Visit to Latin America: A View from the South

In Argentina, a Different Sort of Inflation Fight

Bolivia’s top drug cop arrested for smuggling dope to US

Judge suspends Brazil’s monster dam: contractor ‘imposing’ its interests

Brazil Economy Flickers as Bottlenecks Drive Up Prices

Aprobación de Central Castilla: el debate ambiental-energético no termina

Chilean quake survivors still suffer one year later

Bachmann visits Mexico, Colombia

Colombia Central Bank Increases Key Rate To 3.25%

Chinchilla blasts Ortega for Gadhafi support
Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega said Monday he called Moammar Gadhafi to express solidarity during these very “tense moments.”

As Cuba Prepares to Drill for Oil Offshore, New Report Urges Major Changes in U.S. Policy. Here’s the Congressional Research Service report: Cuba’s Offshore Oil Development: Background and U.S. Policy Considerations

Alan Gross’ lawyer wears two hats

AFI and PBS Embrace Pro-Castro Propaganda, Ignore Agustin Blazquez’ Documented Criticism

The infiltration of Cuba’s dissident groups

The Graveyard Police

Raul Castro’s Three-Year Report Card

With Increased US Aid, Honduras Militarises Anti-Drug Fight

Home building design tips for the tropics

Teachers and Taxistas strike in La Ceiba

Respected Mexican journalist fired for addressing Calderon drinking rumor

6 Members of Zeta Drug Cartel Arrested for ICE Agent Murder

Speedy Sarkozy Bullied by the Mexicans

The Accusations of an Ex-Governor and the Nature of PRI Support for the Drug Trade

An American Dies in Mexico’s Drug War
Rounding up the killers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Jaime Zapata will not curtail Americans’ voracious appetite for mind-altering substances.

Qaddafi and Ortega: Brotherhood of Blood

Gadhafi gets support from Nicaragua’s Ortega (Updated)

InterAmericana Hwy. Shutdown in David due to Protests…

Peru calls for United Nations intervention in Libya

Five Indicted in Puerto Rico on Organized Crime and Racketeering Charges

Pedro Konrad y Claudia María Sosa Otero – lavado de dinero de narcotrafico

Iranian, Venezuelan Presidents Review Important Regional Developments
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez in a phone conversation conferred on the latest regional and international developments, and stressed the necessity for the two states to keep vigilant and increase their bilateral consultations.

Venezuela’s government supports Qaddafi: denial ain’t a river next to Egypt…..

Chávez starts to pay the price for that Bolivar sword replica UPDATED

U.S. journalist reports harassment by Venezuelan agents


The mystery of Giordani’s 18% Debt/GDP ratio

Jaime Bayly has a new novel coming out, and the hype is on, not all of it good (video in Spanish, language not suitable for work)

The week’s posts:
Teddy does Santiago
Mexico: More Civilians Killed Last Year in One Mexican Border Town Than All Afghanistan
Will Venezuela really go bankrupt?
Mexican drug wars spreading to Central America
White House won’t talk about Libya, while Peru does