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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Alan P Gross revealed as man arrested in Cuba working for DAI - NYT

Posted January 12, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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New York Times breaks the story that the person arrested in Cuba for allegedly spying and/or distributing computers and electronics is Alan P GrossBy GINGER THOMPSON and MARC LACEY | New York Times

The United States contractor detained in Cuba last month and accused of being a spy is a 60-year-old social worker from the Washington suburbs who had gone to Cuba to provide communications equipment to Jewish nonprofit organizations, according to American officials.

In postings on the Internet, the contractor, Alan P. Gross — whose identify had not previously been made public — said he had more than 20 years’ experience in development work around the world. One of his Internet networking sites said he had been a volunteer field organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

American officials say that Mr. Gross had gone to Cuba as part of a United States government program and was providing encouragement and financial assistance to religious nonprofit groups. The officials acknowledge that Mr. Gross entered Cuba without the proper visa, though they contend that he was not involved in any activities that posed a violent threat to the Cuban government. And they flatly dispute any allegations that he is a spy.

The Cuban government, however, has characterized his work as a threat to national security.

In the United States, where Cuba continues to fire political passions, Mr. Gross’s detention has become the source of new tensions between Washington and Havana, and it threatens to ignite more debate on Capitol Hill about how the Obama administration ought to proceed in its Cuba policy.

Specifically, the case has raised questions about whether the administration should continue a Bush administration practice of sending development workers to conduct the kind of semicovert operations that landed Mr. Gross in jail.

At the time Mr. Gross was detained, he had visited Cuba several times, delivering computer and satellite equipment to three Jewish community groups, according to people with knowledge of his work.

In December, they said, he was on a follow-up trip for Development Alternatives Inc…

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Member Comments

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On January 12, 2010, Curt wrote:

Hope the gut gets at least a couple of years in a Cuban jail. Then maybe the U.S will get rid of agencies like US AID and National Endowment for Democracy.
  The U.S has no right to interfere with the sovereignty of any country. The Obama administration has really disappointed me with continuing these programs and keeping Cuba on the terrorist list of countries. Obama sould take his Nobel Piece prize and shove it!
  Maybe if the U.S releases the Cuban 5 then Mr. Gross will be released.

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On January 13, 2010, bernie wrote:

Right on CURT: 2 years at least and then for traveling to Cuba
without a US license a couple of years in a US prison??????

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On January 13, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

This is the kind of people that helps the Castros to stay in power at any cost.

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On January 13, 2010, Marek wrote:

An interview with a friend / coworker of Alan Gross calls him “naive” about working internationally… “naive”... a guy with “more than 20 years’ experience in development work around the world”. Uh-huh.  His ties to USAID alone are sufficient to suspect he is not the innocent portrayed by DAI and the State Department.

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On January 13, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

So you feel that the CIA would send somebody so easily identifiable to do field work in Cuba openly?
Give me a break. The guy was in Cuba giving some radios and cell phones what is the big deal.
He was not doing anything else, the Cuban Government has nothing to show, they would had show it by now.

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On January 13, 2010, Marek wrote:

No. He was delivering to “dissidents” laptops and satellite phones.

I suggest you read the book “Los Dissidentes” to learn more about how the CIA / USAID / NED operates, and just how much Cuban intelligence really does know.

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On January 15, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

So let’s trust everything the Cuban government is saying and agree that Mr. Gross was giving Laptops and Satellite phones to people in Cuba, what is the big deal? Firstly they are sold freely around the world. Only a Castro puppet would understand that doing that means they guy is working for the CIA.

The communications in Cuba are almost nonexistent. I was recently there and to send an email you need first to pay like USD 10.00/hour and spend like 5 minutes guessing whether the email would go or not.
The quality of the phone communications is also terrible (echoes, people listening your conversation, etc).

The guy was working previously in other developing contracts in other countries and nobody ever thought that he was working for the CIA.

What you should concentrate is in the fact that simple things like computers and satellite phones are prohibited in Cuba and associated with intelligence activities instead of with regular everyday live. That is not a mere coincidence, is what the Castro government does to keep the people under a firm grip.

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On December 03, 2010, Gene wrote:

I suspect that he probably was doing something not-exactly kosher, although I doubt he was spying.

And I further suspect that the Cubans arrested him to use as a bargaining chip to eventually exchange him for the “Cuban Five,” currently held in a US prison for spying, a charge I believe to be as equally spurious as that Gross was spying.