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Posted September 07, 2011 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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CNN - Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is going to Cuba on Wednesday to try to negotiate the release of jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross, CNN has learned.

The exclusive report by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” said Richardson was invited by the Cuban government for the specific mission of trying to negotiate the release of Gross. Richardson is expected to spend “the next few days” in Havana, Blitzer reported.

“We are aware of Gov. Richardson’s trip to Cuba and have been in contact with him,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told CNN. “While Governor Richardson is traveling as a private citizen, we certainly support his efforts to obtain Alan Gross’ release.”

A statement issued Wednesday on behalf of the Gross family said, “We are pleased that the Cuban government invited Gov. Richardson to Havana.”

“We welcome any and all dialogue that ultimately will result in Alan’s release,” the statement said. “We are grateful to Governor Richardson for his continued efforts.”

U.S. officials say they hope the Cuban government will consider releasing Gross early now that the courts have had their say.

The Gross family statement expressed hope that Richardson and Cuban authorities “are able to find common ground that will allow us to be reunited as a family before the Jewish High Holy Days,” which begin on September 28 this year with the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 08, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I find it VERY interesting that it’s public knowledge that the Cuban government invited Richardson AND for the purpose of negotiating the release of Alan Gross.

    Today Xinhua, the Communist controlled Chinese propaganda website even posted the news so you know this information is coming right from the Cuban government and not some leaked information from the US side.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on September 11, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    No update other than he was not allowed to see Alan Gross which is odd since “somebody” from the Cuban government invited him to come to Havana specifically to negotiate the release of Alan Gross.

    Richardson says he won’t leave Cuba until he sees Alan Gross.

    We wish him well.



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  3. Follow up post #3 added on September 12, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    So far only disappointment for Richardson.

    This Washington Post article quotes Richardson as saying “My sense is, there are some elements in their government that don’t want to improve relations with the U.S”.

    I wonder who that can be???

    Fidel Castro does not want the US Embargo lifted.



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  4. Follow up post #4 added on September 13, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    As of 11:00am today, Tuesday September 13, the Governor is saying that he will not leave Cuba until he sees Alan Gross.

    I find it bizarre that apparently he was publicly invited to Cuba to negotiate the release of Alan Gross but is not able to see him.

    Bizarre as though Fidel Castro is in charge of this negotiation.

    Is this Fidel’s last stand in the international arena?

    I think so.



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  5. Follow up post #5 added on September 13, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    If this is not a Fidel Castro scheme then perhaps Alan Gross is severely malnourished and/or close to death so neither Fidel nor Raul want Richardson to see Alan Gross in such a deteriorated physical condition.

    I hate to take it this far but one has to wonder…

    Is Alan Gross dead?



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  6. Follow up post #6 added on September 13, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Governor Richardson is leaving Cuba without Alan Gross.

    “I am very disappointed and surprised,” Richardson said. “Perhaps the Cuban government has decided it does not want to improve relations. Perhaps that is the message it is sending.”

    Hmmm. Do you think Fidel or Raul is in charge of the Alan Gross situation?

    Fidel may be having his fun pissing off American politicians like the old day but Raul is the one who is going to pay this time.

    I expect some harsh words and perhaps even actions coming from Washington and hopefully from many other countries around the world.

    Is Alan Gross guilty? Okay, fine. Let’s say he’s guilty. Guilty of bringing in satellite phone equipment? Fine, yes. Guilty of crimes against the sovereignty of Cuba? Fine, yes again.

    Was he financed by the US government? Probably.

    The guy even admitted to being duped by the US so he played the stooge for Cuba’s benefit. He’s been a good propaganda boy for Fidel and has suffered in a Cuban prison since December 2009.

    His mother and daughter have cancer.

    Raul, give the freaking guy a break. Send him home.

    Overrule Fidel (or don’t even tell him) and put Alan Gross on a medical evacuation helicopter to Miami tonight and be done with this or suffer the short term and long term wrath of Washington, Miami and probably many countries including Spain and Canada.

    The time has come to do the right thing for Alan Gross personally.

    Fidel has made his point in an international arena.

    LET ALAN GROSS GO HOME because it is the right thing to do for the guy.



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  7. Follow up post #7 added on September 14, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    From Associated Press

    State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that the State Department is disappointed that Governor Richardson was unable to visit Alan Gross and “we remain very concerned about the welfare of Mr. Gross going forward”.

    He said the State Department would continue to use “every available diplomatic channel” to press for the release of Alan Gross.

    Perhaps they, like me, are now wondering if Alan Gross is either VERY sick or even dead.

    Is Alan Gross dead?

    Although Fidel may be pulling the strings (as I believe), the blood of Alan Gross is on Raul Castro’s hands.



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  8. Follow up post #8 added on September 14, 2011 by rick

    Everyone commenting here seems to have a much greater access to facts than I.
    Did Gross’s crime involve the US gov’t?  Was the US gov’t involved with distributing ” illegal materials”, to the tiny Cuban Jewish community?  Were any Cuban Jews arrested for this same offense? Have any been jailed like Gross?  Was the US gov’t included in the charges as well as Gross?  When Gross says he was duped; by whom?
    Would love a little feed back on the above.
    Thanks,
    rick


  9. Follow up post #9 added on September 15, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    From the BBC with my comments in bold

    Cuban officials said they rejected Mr Richardson’s request to see Gross after he described him as a “hostage”.

    First of all, we only know what Governor Richardson tells us and what the Cuban government chooses to tell us. With that said, my understanding is that the Governor called Mr. Gross a “hostage” AFTER he was told that he could not see Mr. Gross.

    Mr Richardson, now back in the US, told CNN he was stunned by Cuba’s “dramatic snub”, which seemed to suggest Havana was not seeking improved US ties.

    That’s true

    “His request to see the prisoner… became impossible due to his slanderous statements to the press in which he described Gross as a ‘hostage’ of the Cuban government,” said a statement from Josefina Vidal, head of North American Affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry.

    Now the Cuban government is playing dumb and claiming they never invited Richardson?

    Who do you believe?

    This has FIDEL CASTRO written all over it and it’s shameful. If this is Fidel Castro’s last act, the world should rise to help get Mr. Gross freed on humanitarian reasons.

    Now President Raul Castro… this is YOUR mess.



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  10. Follow up post #10 added on September 15, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    From Forbes

    “The release of the North American prisoner Alan Gross was never on the table,” she said, adding that Cuba was caught by surprise when word of Richardson’s visit was leaked amid news reports that he was coming to take Gross home.”

    Then why didn’t the Cuban government issue a statement BEFORE Richardson even arrived in Cuba? It was no secret that he was “invited” to Cuba to “negotiate” the release of Alan Gross. The Cuban government knew why he was there but they wait until he leaves to say it was “caught by surprise”?

    Bullshit.

    “An aide to Richardson who was with the governor on the trip took exception to Vidal’s account, insisting that the American politician was indeed invited to discuss the Gross case.

    “The Cubans are making flimsy excuses only after they personally invited Gov. Richardson to discuss the Alan Gross detention and only after they inexplicably stonewalled Governor Richardson”

    Right. Who do you believe?



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  11. Follow up post #11 added on September 15, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    At Rick…

    Did Gross’s crime involve the US gov’t? 

    Involve? He was sent indirectly by USAID.

    Was the US gov’t involved with distributing ” illegal materials”, to the tiny Cuban Jewish community? 

    Again… indirectly via a USAID funded program to promote democracy on the island. Think of it as a bin Laden supported effort to promote radical Islam in the US. What do you think the US would do with the same type of person?

    Oddly enough, they would send him to Guantanamo Bay Cuba grin

    Were any Cuban Jews arrested for this same offense?

    No. The Jewish organization in Cuba came out and publicly denying knowing Alan Gross.

    Have any been jailed like Gross? 

    If so, not as publicly.

    Was the US gov’t included in the charges as well as Gross? 

    No.

    When Gross says he was duped; by whom?

    By his employer and/or the US Government.

    However, Alan Gross was either ignorant and/or stupid and/or greedy.

    First, I understand that he did not speak Spanish very well. Dumb if you are on a USAID funded program to distribute satellite phone equipment in Cuba.

    Second, if he didn’t think distributing satellite phone equipment in Cuba was not highly illegal, then he’s just plain stupid.

    Third, I read somewhere that he was paid $500k for this program. I’m sorry I don’t remember where and I don’t remember if it was a credible source but again, he’s pretty stupid if he DIDN’T get paid a lot of money.

    So, is Alan Gross guilty? Yes.

    Is Alan Gross stupid? Yes or he’s a liar.

    Was Alan Gross duped? Perhaps but I doubt he felt that way until after he was caught.

    Should Alan Gross be released on humanitarian grounds? Of course. Should have been done many months ago.

    Should the US stop ALL USAID funded programs and ALL government grants to study Cuba and promote democracy in Cuba? Absolutely.

    Stop paying off the old Cuban exiles in Miami directly and indirectly to get their votes.



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  12. Follow up post #12 added on September 15, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Sun Sentinel has this…

    Bill Richardson’s failed Cuba trip shows hardliners rule in Havana

    My thoughts exactly.



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  13. Follow up post #13 added on September 16, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The more I think about this whole situation, the more I realize that this truly is a Fidel Castro strategy.

    Throughout history, whenever a US President started easing ties with Cuba, Fidel did something to shut it down.

    Today we have people to people licenses and flights from Tampa to Havana.

    All these new travelers to Cuba must be scaring the hell out of Fidel so he needs to do something to stop President Obama from easing travel restrictions any further.

    Am I wrong?



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  14. Follow up post #14 added on September 16, 2011 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    From Paul Haven of AP Richardson aide says Cuba backtracked on American:

    —-On June 20 of this year, Richardson got a call from Jorge Bolanos, Cuba’s top diplomat in Washington, who asked him to come over to the Cuban mission.

    There, Bolanos read Richardson a diplomatic note that “basically said that after the judicial process ended the Cubans were ready to talk to him about Gross,” Gallegos said.

    On July 22, Richardson had a phone conversation with the Cuban diplomat. Bolanos, who was in Cuba at the time, said that the judicial process against Gross would soon be over and that they could then proceed with the talks. They spoke on the same day that Gross made his final appeal to the Supreme Court.

    Richardson suggested he come in August, but Bolanos told him to hold off until Sept. 1. The Supreme Court made its final ruling Aug. 5.

    Gallegos said the two men spoke again July 26, at which point Richardson proposed a Sept. 7 trip, which is when he came. On Aug. 10, Richardson had lunch with Bolanos at the Cuban diplomat’s residence in Washington. Bolanos told Richardson he would meet Bruno Rodriguez in Havana, and implied that negotiations would ensue.

    “It was incredibly clear to Gov. Richardson that the Cubans this time were at the point where they were ready to negotiate,” said Gallegos. “They were ready to seriously discuss the possibility of releasing Mr. Gross.”—-

    So, who’s lying? Governor Richardson or the Cuban government?

    Also…“Richardson told CNN on Wednesday that he thought hard-liners within the Cuban government had won an internal argument about Gross’s fate, dooming the visit.”

    As in Fidel Castro or people loyal to Fidel. I seriously doubt Raul Castro sabotaged Richardson’s visit.

    I don’t think he cares much about Alan Gross or has the international political mind to pull something like this off like Fidel does.

    As I said, he may not be behind it but he is the one who is going to pay for it.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/world/2011/09/richardson-aide-says-cuba-backtracked-american#ixzz1Y7CQDA4T



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