Alan Gross, American Detainee in Cuba, Could Face a 20-Year Prison Sentence

Categories: Broward News
Alan Gross and his wife.
Prosecutors in Cuba said they will charge Alan Gross, the American detained as a spy in Cuba since December 2009, with "Actions Against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State," seeking a 20-year prison sentence.

Two years ago, Gross went to Cuba on a ten-day trip to provide internet access to the Jewish community as part of a government-backed program promoting democracy. Accused by Cuban officials of spying, Gross's ten-day trip turned into a prison stint with no end in sight.
Since his detainment, he has become a human bargaining chip in the strained ongoing and slow-going negotiations between the United States and Cuba.

Nick Miroff of Global Post writes :
If the internet is the new battlefield in the long, simmering standoff between Cuba and the United States, then jailed American contractor Alan Gross is the conflict's first POW.
A trial date has not been set, but the Gross case, along with several other web-related developments this month, has offered the best insight yet into the Castro government's evolving views of the internet, as Cuban authorities cautiously attempt to introduce modern technology while pushing back against U.S. efforts to wield it against them.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released a statement saying:
The news that the Castro brothers are seeking a 20-year imprisonment of Alan Gross for distributing cell phones to the Jewish community of Havana--after he has languished in a Cuban cell without access to medical care for fourteen months--is outrageous.

This affront is magnified by the recent announcement by the Obama Administration that the United States will be loosening travel restrictions which will pump much-needed money into the desperate Cuban economy, boosting the Castro regime...We should not be opening up our markets and our travel before the Castro regime brings true reform to the Cuban people.
About a week ago, the Sun-Sentinel published an article about airlines bracing themselves for the surge that would result if travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba were lifted. With the news that Cuban officials are pushing for a 20-year prison sentence for Gross, it looks like the U.S. and Cuban governments may be right back to the drawing board.

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Mr. Gross has become a subject to whatever designs a State may have in a scheme tobarter an inmate for other subjects in another country.--In the history of International Spying, it is doubtful whether anyone might arbitrarilyconsidered to be in the business......--Are those "anti-terrorist agents"? Is thisa semitic information facilitator? --The "Matahari" would do somersaults in her graveif none-of-them were to be really in the industry. --Perhaps, they are ponds or victimsof circumstances under designs of insane governments with absurd intelligence operations....


"Although he entered the island on a tourist visa, Gross was not in Cuba for the exceptional bird watching. The 60-year-old family man, synagogue member, and former Obama supporter is a technology expert and federal vendor whose specialty is bringing satellite signals to remote locations. Though uninvited by his hosts, he was on Castro's island as an "independent business and economic development consultant" to Development Alternatives, Inc., a State Department contractor that hired him under a $8.6 million contract from the Agency for International Development. Since his arrest, reporters have asked at State press briefings about Gross' detention and his precise assignment in Cuba. Few details have been released other than he was there to assist "civil society organizations" to better communicate through technology."

Let's not be naive.

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