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Alan Gross’s True Cuba Mission

Posted By Circles Robinson On January 19, 2013 @ 7:03 am In Features,Highly Popular Posts,Lead Articles,leftcol 4 | 41 Comments


HAVANA TIMES — Investigative reporter Tracey Eaton just published a thorough report documenting the story behind Alan Gross, a well-paid agent hired by Development Alternatives Inc. to carry out an illegal USAID project in Cuba. Gross was caught in the act and received a 15-year sentence by a Cuban court for endangering the island’s national security. The article appeared on Eaton’s blog Along the Malecon [1].


Secrecy, politics at heart of Cuba project

By Tracey Eaton (Along the Malecon [1])

[2]U.S. officials stressed the importance of secrecy during a 2008 meeting with a Maryland contractor that had been chosen tocarry out a new democracy project in Cuba, according to a confidential memo (download 8-page document [3]).

The project wasn’t considered classified, however, because the U.S. Agency for International Development wanted to create the illusion of transparency.

Development Alternatives Inc., of Bethesda, Md., won the USAID contract on Aug. 14, 2008, and quickly hired Alan Gross, who was later arrested in Cuba while working on the project.

DAI wrote the confidential memo to summarize what was said during a private Aug. 26, 2008, meeting with top USAID officials.
During the meeting, DAI learned that the U.S. government had “five to seven different transition plans” for Cuba. DAI would “not be asked to write a new one.”

Instead, the contractor would carry out a daring plan to set up satellite Internet connections under the nose of Cuban state security agents.

USAID promised to protect the identities of contractors and their associates in and out of Cuba. “The program is not pressing (and will not press) them to disclose networks,” said the memo, which DAI filed in federal court on Jan. 15 as part of its reply to a $60 million lawsuit filed by the Gross family in November 2012.

Telco Diagram

The memo stressed the unusual nature of the Cuba program:

The project was not classified because USAID wanted to send the message that this is a transparent process. Also, a classified project imposes significant security, documentation burdens and delays on all its stakeholders.

USAID wanted no delays and was eager to move ahead. The memo said:

This Administration expects immediate results from this program, definitely before mid-January.

That deadline likely had something to do with the departure of George W. Bush, a strong supporter of USAID’s programs in Cuba, and the arrival of Barack Obama, who was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009.
The DAI memo summed up a top USAID official’s view of the political undercurrents:

  • This project has received and will continue to warrant intense political scrutiny and pressure for results and fiscal integrity.
  • Target populations for grants are those NGO reaching out to pro-democracy and human rights change agents and those Cubans with a different vision for their country.
  • USAID is not telling Cubans how or why they need a democratic transition, but rather, the Agency wants to provide the technology and means for communicating the spark which could benefit the population.
  • This project will be difficult to implement because an ‘ossified’ Cuban government prevents change, and because most government resources go to its police and control machinery.
  • The Cuba program attracts significant attention and scrutiny by US Congress, where some support and others question existing activities.
  • There is, of course, skepticism on this project, influential political and civic leaders have the perception that this program is paying too much for work that could be significantly less expensive through other contract or award options.

The challenge, the memo said, would be finding “creativity to implement this project in the face of opposition from the Cuban State…while protecting the security of participants and change agents.”
The project was entitled “Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program,” or CDCPP. The memo gave explicit instructions on how the initiative should be described if any lawmakers should ask about it.

Explanation to the Hill regarding CDCPP: to empower pro-democracy, pro-human rights and those looking for alternative visions for the island. The program seeks to expand the reach of their ideas and activities, to build and fortify networks and their capacity to act, and to increase the flow of communication to and around the island.

That vague description gave no clues to the project’s clandestine nature, but the DAI memo was clear:

CDCPP is not an analytical project; it’s an operational activity. USAID approval is needed for everything. We cannot freelance.

The memo said USAID picked DAI in part because of its international reach.

USAID would like to tap into the global network of contacts that DAI has in terms of democracy promotion…

Planes flying in to Cuba from Europe, Central America and the Caribbean look “less conspicuous.”
Grant limits to non-U.S. NGOs “have no funding ceiling,” the memo added. But:

Cuban security apparatus is very strong so non-US NGOs should be vetted.

The DAI memo spelled out what the contractor should say in response to any inquiries from the public or the media:

Yes, we have been awarded CDCPP and we are working with USAID on discussions, but the project is not fully operational yet. Please refer other questions to (redacted) of USAID.

The memo said USAID stressed:

Nothing anywhere.

DAI said that meant:

We must not post anything on our website or issue a press release on the awarded contract.

DAI wound up picking Gross to handle “new media” – the satellite Internet connections – described as the “most sensitive component in a very sensitive project.”
And during four trips to Cuba, Gross established three Internet connections – one in Havana, two outside the capital.
DAI paid him $258,274. He requested more money to continue the project and was promised $332,334, which would have brought his subcontract total to $590,608, an October 2009 memo shows (download 6-page document [4]).
In late November 2009, Gross returned to Cuba a fifth time. Cuban authorities arrested him on Dec. 3, 2009, and accused him of crimes against the socialist state.
DAI said it paid Gross “the full amount owed under the Subcontract for completed deliverables.”
That evidently means Gross would have been entitled to just $65,132.80. That would bring his total payments to $323,406.80, not the full $590,608 he could have collected if he were not arrested.
Gross called his effort “Para La Isla” – For The Island. According to a proposal (download 13-page document [5]) he wrote after his first four trips to Cuba:

Efforts to date under the Para-La-Isla (PLI) Pilot have been focused on establishing and operationalizing 3 sites on the Island through which target group members now have greater access to information than they had previously.
Activities in support of these efforts included the selection, configuration, logistics and training on the use of specific information and communication technologies (ICTs). Primary objectives of the Pilot dealt with the efficacy of the technologies deployed and the contractor’s demonstration that these technologies work.

In the Sept. 17, 2009, memo, Gross proposed six additional trips to Cuba that his company would carry out from Nov. 1, 2009, to Oct. 31, 2010.
The memo stated:

Activities initially developed under this pilot at the first site in the capital city have been replicated and expanded to two other target group member communities in the provinces. These activities can be expanded to other identified target groups.

That likely means that Gross and DAI had envisioned taking the program beyond the Jewish community where Gross installed his first Internet connection.
Gross had supplied his Cuban collaborators with Broadband Global Area Network equipment, BGAN for short. The equipment, which fits into a backpack, can be used to establish a broadband Internet connection from anywhere in the world. Users can also make phone calls, send e-mail messages and set up a WiFi network.
During follow-up visits, Gross wanted to learn how Cubans were using the BGAN equipment, increase the number of users at each site and boost security so they wouldn’t be caught.
He considered it “highly probable” that state security agents would detect the satellite connections in the provinces. He wrote:

Radio Frequency activity in the Capitol City is more difficult to monitor than in the provinces because of an already existing level of RF congestion (e.g., from government, commercial sites, embassies, etc.). Therefore, monitoring and detection in the use of ICTs is less likely to occur in the Capitol City. Conversely and because there is little RF congestion in the provinces, monitoring and detection of ICT devices is highly probable.
Even limited use of BGANs and wireless networks will be monitored and detected because Island government technicians routinely “sniff” neighborhoods with their handheld devices in search of ham-radio and satellite dishes. While wireless computer networks (intranet) are not likely to cause any problem if detected, discovery of BGAN usage for Internet access would be catastrophic.

Gross planned to install special SIM cards in the three BGAN systems that would disable their GPS tracking feature and make them more difficult to detect. He wrote:

In order to improve and supplement security tactics and protocols already in place, the contractor will use an alternative SIM card, called “discreet” SIM card, that will increase the level of technical security with each of the 3 BGANs deployed. Discreet SIM cards impede the ability to track or detect specific aspects of non-terrestrial transmitted signals, regarding location and IP identification of transmission. This is accomplished by:

·         Masking the IP address of the BGAN, in case some entity is able to “hack” into the transmission at either end, and

·         Masking the signal so that its GPS location cannot be pinpointed within 400 km.

During the last three of the six trips that Gross planned, he had hoped to supply “up to an additional three prospective new target group sites” with what he described as “Telco-in-a-Bag.” He wrote:

Beneficiaries will utilize this equipment to support activities that are consistent with CDP program. A standard configuration will include:




·         Hardware and software (e.g., computers, modems)

·         Content sharing devices (e.g. iPods, flash drives, smartphones)

·         Activation and Service (BGAN and mobile)

·         Installation

·         Training on the use of this equipment will be similar to the first 3 sites (excluding training on Ruckus Wireless equipment)

·         Local Technical Support to be provided by local contractor staff for trouble-shooting, technical assistance, maintenance, etc.

·         Accessories

·         Schematic


Gross said each ‘Telco-In-A-Bag” would include:

  • Unlocked SmartPhones
  • Sim Card
  • 2GB miniSD Expansion Memory Card
  • iPod 120 GB
  • Composite AV Cable for use with iPod & TV
  • RF Modulator for TVs, Coaxial Cable
  • BGAN satellite modem (1 T&T, 2 Nera)
  • Discreet BGAN Sim card
  • Wireless Router
  • Switch
  • MacBook
  • Backpack
  • Surge Protector (3-outlet) & Adapters
  • Polycom Communicator for Notebook
  • WD External Hard Drive, 500 GB
  • USB Memory Stick (4 GB Flash Drive)”

The memo said that Gross and DAI would reach “an amicable agreement on how to resolve or settle” any differences if forces beyond their control prevented the project’s completion.
But there was no amicable agreement after Gross was arrested and Gross and his wife, Judy, sued DAI and USAID.
On Jan. 15, DAI asked a federal judge to throw out the lawsuit. Lawyers for DAI wrote (download 57-page document [6]):

The Cuban government, reprehensibly, has sought to manipulate its detention of Mr. Gross to strengthen its hand in dealings with the United States. This has included seeking to exchange Mr. Gross’s release for the U.S. Government’s release of five Cuban spies. As Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen observed, “[t]he Cuban dictatorship is clearly using Mr. Gross to strengthen its grip on power and gain leverage with the United States.”
Against this backdrop, Plaintiffs have filed the present tort suit seeking monetary damages from the Defendants. The fundamental premise of the Complaint is that Plaintiffs may bring tort claims against the Defendants based on the tragic harm that has befallen Mr. Gross.
This premise is wrong. Plaintiffs’ allegations are inextricably intertwined with Federal laws and policies that bar Plaintiffs’ claims, and also fail to state a claim on which the Court can grant relief. Plaintiffs’ claims must be dismissed for eight distinct reasons, any one of which would justify dismissal.

The DAI lawyers – Steven J. Weber, Sarah M. Graves and Matthew J. Gaziano – also said that the company did not have duty to protect Gross. They said he was an independent contractor who should have done more to avoid arrest.
They wrote:

…the Subcontract explicitly states “[t]he Subcontractor shall take all reasonable precautions to prevent damage, injury, or loss to all persons performing services hereunder, the Work, all materials and equipment utilized therein, and all other property at the site of the Work and adjacent thereto.” § 7.3. Thus, § 410 is inapplicable on its face, and the general rule restricting liability to independent contractor employees should prevail.
In sum, DAI had no duty to protect Mr. Gross from the type of injury he suffered, and no exception to this rule is applicable given his admitted status as an employee of an independent contractor. Whether his injury was foreseeable is a factual question that does not change this analysis.

The Cuban government – not DAI – are ultimately to blame for any harm done to Gross and his wife, the contractor’s lawyers said.

DAI deeply regrets that Mr. and Mrs. Gross have suffered harm due to the actions of the Cuban government while Mr. Gross was undertaking activities in Cuba to further the U.S.Government’s foreign policy. For the reasons stated above, however, the Complaint against DAI must be dismissed in its entirety and with prejudice.

41 Comments To "Alan Gross’s True Cuba Mission"


#1 Comment By Moses Patterson On January 19, 2013 @ 10:18 am

I have strong mixed feelings regarding this post. First, assuming its authenticity, it really confirms what everyone believed all along. That is that Alan Gross knew what he was doing in Cuba was risky and illegal. I am disappointed that Mr. Gross was caught but not surprised. The US has consistently underestimated Cuban internal security capabilities, foreign intelligence operations and the resolve of the Castros to sustain their dictatorship. The fact that this operation was a sub-sub-contract is an indication of the low-level importance of the US pro-democracy agenda in Cuba. I guess the Three Stooges were not available for this contract? On the other hand, I am heartened that only in the US can a regular guy like Tracy Eaton publish documents that nail this case to the floor. Is there anyone who believes that if there were documents like these that prove the Cuban State Security’s involvement in the murder of Oswaldo Paya, that that person would be permitted to publish those documents in their blog in Cuba…and live?

#2 Comment By DC1945 On January 19, 2013 @ 10:56 am

In a nutshell, it seems Gross was setting up a clandestine communications network to facilitate the overthrow of the national government. Is that sort of thing allowed in the US? Or any other country?

#3 Comment By Griffin On January 19, 2013 @ 11:35 am

“The US has consistently underestimated Cuban internal security capabilities, foreign intelligence operations and the resolve of the Castros to sustain their dictatorship.”

Read Brian Latell’s “Castro’s Secrets” and see how stupidly the US underestimated Cuban intelligence agents. Castro was a genius at running an espionage program. Cuban agents had thoroughly penetrated the US projects dieted against Cuba, including the preparations for the Bay of Pigs invasion.

It would not surprise me to learn Cuba had some intelligence inside this program. If the report is accurate, and Tracy Eaton is a hard working, honest reporter as far as I can tell, it does reveal an amateurishness on the part of the US government in sub-contracting to an NGO. It reads a bit like Our Man in Havana.

#4 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 19, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

Anything that has to do with connecting the everyday Cuban citizen to the internet is a crime! There has never been any proof that Alan Gross contacted dissidents in order to set up these types of devices! Im sure those who want to trade the Cuban 5 spies for Alan Gross will attach themselves to this report like glue! But I still dont understand why the Castro “government” has NEVER shown any photos of these devices nor did they allow the international press to cover the trial/appeals and have not till this day allow this same international press to interview Alan Gross! If the proof is there why all the secrecy??

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN CUBA- Amnesty International Publications 2010 CONTROL OF INTERNET ACCESS In Cuba, access to the internet remains under state control. It is regulated by the Law of Security of Information, which prohibits access to internet services from private homes. Therefore, the internet in Cuba has a social vocation and remains accessible at education centres, work-places and other public institutions. [7]

#5 Comment By luis segui On January 19, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

Humberto no sabes nada

#6 Comment By Griffin On January 19, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

To be accurate, the communications network was intended to support pro-democracy movements in Cuba. The ruling regime opposes democracy. But it is difficult to argue that Cuban pro-democracy groups are “anti-Cuban”. Anti-Castro, perhaps, but not anti-Cuban. How can the Castro regime claim they, and they alone, represent the will of the Cuban people?

#7 Comment By Moses Patterson On January 19, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

Hahaha. It is a tremendous leap from a clandestine communications network to the overthrow of a government, dontcha’ think? In an era of predator drones and satellite-based missile systems, a Telco-in-a-bag seems quite harmless. OK, it was illegal but not the end of the world. And by the way, anti-US groups don’t need these sort of clandestine communication systems in a free country like the US. They can meet openly in mosques or barns or lawyer’s offices with total privacy (except for the FBI listening devices). The US doesn’t put people in jail for owning high technology. They go to jail for discussing plans to bomb shopping malls using that technology.

#8 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 19, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

luis segui !! Todo lo que puse esta correcto amigo!

#9 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 19, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

This comes from Tracey Eatons “Cuba Money Project” web site Summary of State Dept-John Kerry Q&A-

Excerpt: “These programs are comparable to what we and other donors do to support democracy and human rights in repressive societies all over the world. Possible counterintelligence penetration is a known risk in Cuba. Those who carry out our assistance are aware of such risks. …the Cuban government arbitrarily arrests and detains citizens who try to exercise basic freedoms…Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we are not always able to publicly convey the details and impact of our programs.”[8]

#10 Comment By Marcos Nelson On January 19, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

Creating open and free communications in Cuba seems to be a crime! The internet is a weapon to give citizens access to information and exchange of ideas. That’s not possible in some countries.Dictatorial governments are always afraid of the flow of free ideas.

#11 Comment By Jose Ferrer On January 20, 2013 @ 8:06 am

Because they do represent the will of the Cuban people

#12 Comment By Rafael Ros On January 20, 2013 @ 11:10 am

OMG!! I hope that U.S. security never finds out that I, a Cuban national living in the U.S. possess several PCs, smart phones, iPads, iPhones, terabytes of external USB hard drives, countless SIM cards, HDMI, component, video, RCA cables, wireless routers, of course, a real dangerous backpack, surge protectors, UPS, openly criticize members of the government including president Obama, all while using the above equipment…oh wait, I forgot, I live in a democracy so all of the above is not considered “dangerous sophisticated
spy equipment!”

#13 Comment By John Goodrich On January 20, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

To discuss the Alan Gross case in the absence of any inclusion of the 50+ year war the U.S has been waging on Cuba is to miss the elephant in the room..

The U.S is not interested in democratizing Cuba anymore than it is interested in democratizing totalitarian and feral capitalism or the top-down and undemocratic oligarchic electoral system owned and run by big money in the States.

To believe that democracy is the motive for U.S foreign policy anywhere in the world is to be criminally naive.

The U.S history in Latin America and the region has always been one of opposing democracy and installing pro-capitalists and anti-socilaist dictators.

Gross’s mission was just one more little part of the U.S . 50 year war to make life so miserable for all the Cuban people that they would overthrow their revolution .

For a partial but effective list that clearly demonstrates what I am saying, anyone can visit the “Killing Hope ” website which lists some 54 U.S. interventions
between 1945 and the 1990s.

#14 Comment By Grady R. Daugherty On January 20, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

Alan Gross was working as an agent of the US government to undermine, and ultimately bring about the downfall of the present Cuban government. He was caught, tried and sentenced. End of story.

#15 Comment By Grady R. Daugherty On January 20, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

Alan Gross, it seems to me, was not trying to create “open and free communications in Cuba.” He apparently was a paid agent of the US government, working to undermine and ultimately bring about the downfall of the present Cuban government, using communications and the internet as a weapon. He got caught.

#16 Comment By Moses Patterson On January 20, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

It would appear that 20% of those people are so pleased with Cuban leadership that they would prefer to live in other countries. No Cuban has voted for their President since 1956.

#17 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 20, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

Can someone provide a link to the transcript of the Alan Gross case?? I need it for my files!

#18 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 20, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

Grady R. Daugherty!! Did you read my link above provided by Tracey Eaton the writer of this article? And please, feel free to provide proof with a link to your accusations! Otherwise is one of the following!

DEFAMATION—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation a negative or inferior image. This can be also any disparaging statement made by one person about another, which is communicated or published, whether true or false, depending on legal state. In Common Law it is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).[1]

INNUENDO: is an insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense, the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one’s words, taken literally, are innocent.

#19 Comment By DC1945 On January 21, 2013 @ 12:19 am

Setting up a communication network is a necessary step. BTW, under the terms of the US Foreign Agents Registration Act, it is illegal for any unregistered foreign agent to attempt to influence US public opinion, never mind equipping and financing subversive groups bent on overthrowing the national government there.

#20 Comment By DC1945 On January 21, 2013 @ 12:47 am

It is interesting to note that, unlike the case with The Five, Amnesty International has never questioned the fairness of Gross’s trial. They also seem not to have bought into the US propaganda line about his supposed “humanitarian” mission in Cuba to promote human rights there. They have never called for his release or adopted him as a prisoner of conscience.

#21 Comment By DC1945 On January 21, 2013 @ 9:13 am

Except for Gross’s employers, no national government, not even US stalwart Israel, has called for his release either. He is a yet another uniquely American obsession when it comes to Cuba.

#22 Comment By Griffin On January 21, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

On what basis can you say that?

There is no freedom of speech in Cuba and there have been no free elections since 1956. The only people saying the regime represents the will of the people is the regime. To say otherwise will land you in jail.

So is it the will of the Cuban people to be ruled by a regime that doesn’t represent them or allow the people to speak?

#23 Comment By Moses Patterson On January 21, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

The expanse of international support for the five Cuban spies is overblown. In comparison to the widespread support for Nelson Mandela during his years of imprisonment in South Africa, most of the support for the five spies comes from sister nations who share Cuba’s anti-US sentiments, or from those tiny socialists factions within other nations. Furthermore, the US has not bothered to engag itself in an international campaign on behalf of Mr.Gross in the same way Cuba has prostituted the families of the five spies. Cuban foreign policy has been predicated on the same two issues for 14 years. The embargo and the spies. The US, for better or worse, has far more important issues to talk about.

#24 Comment By Grady R. Daugherty On January 21, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

Well, Sir, it is apparent that you are unable to participate in a spirited, civil, democratic discussion. Your legalistic threats against me are entirely inappropriate. I shall not speak to you, or about you in the future. Have a good day.

#25 Comment By DC1945 On January 21, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

Spin it any way you like, Moses, but if even the Israeli government isn’t on your side in this case, I would say your international support pretty much non-existent on this one, too. (Like your genocidal embargo.)

Yeah, I know, the rest of the world can go f— themselves. What you call The American Way?

#26 Comment By DC1945 On January 21, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

While there are no direct elections for the president (or prime minster) in Cuba, this is also the case in any parliamentary democracy like Canada or the UK. It would be as if the US congress chose one of their members to be president, and the cabinet were also chosen from members of congress. It is no less democratic than direct elections of the president. (Such a change might even help cure what ails the pathologically dysfunctional US political system, but that is another story.)

In Cuba, there are elections for the National Assembly by secret ballot every 5 years. The last elections in 2008 were widely covered by the international media. As I recall, there was not a hint of from any quarter, not even from the fanatically anti-Cuban Miami media, that this was anything other than a clean vote.

Unlike US voters, Cubans have the option of rejecting every candidate on the secret ballot, thereby calling for an entirely new slate of candidates — real power that US voters can only dream of. US voters’ only real options are to vote for one billionaires’ candidate or another, or to abstain (as staggeringly large numbers do). In Cuba, the voter turnout is close to 100%. And it costs nothing to run for and win even the highest public office. Candidates for the National Assemblies are not nominated by the Communist Party, but by democratically elected Municipal Councils, with a final veto by the people themselves at the ballot box. The head of state, the President, is chosen from members of the National Assembly after the elections.

#27 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 21, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

Grady R. Daugherty!!! It was an honest observation dear! With no proof with link you are treading into “defamation” and or “innuendo”!

#28 Comment By Humberto Capiro On January 21, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

Grady R. Daugherty!! Does this “story” have proof with a link dear?

#29 Comment By Griffin On January 22, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

We forgot to mention there is only one legal political party, the Cuban Communist Party. Campaigning is illegal and criticizing the government is illegal. Technically, Cubans have the option of rejecting the candidates on the ballot, but this has never actually happened in practice.

In parliamentary systems such as Canada, parilament has the option of bringing down the government by passing a vote of non-confidence. Noting like that is allowed to never happened in Cuba.

#30 Comment By Griffin On January 22, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

The purpose of the equipment was for Cubans to use, not for use by the US government.

#31 Comment By Griffin On January 22, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

Best comment on this thread!

#32 Comment By DC1945 On January 22, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

By Cuban law, the Communist Party can have nothing to do with the electoral process. It can neither nominate, finance or even endorse a candidate. The electoral process is what you might call a “no-party” system. It is not run by any central authority. Nominations, campaigning and balloting are entirely run by grass-roots individuals and organizations. It is in no one’s interest to put forward an unpopular candidate; he will simply not obtain the required support at the ballot box.

It is also not illegal to criticize government policy in Cuba. Any elected official, as occasionally happens, can be recalled by democratic vote of his constituents at any time during his term of office, again by secret ballot.

#33 Comment By DC1945 On January 22, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

Again, not even Amnesty International is buying into that line. And apart from Gross’s employers, neither, it seems, is ANY national government in the world.

#34 Comment By Moses Patterson On January 22, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

Griffin, please don’t lie. We obviously disagree but I choose for my own dignity’s sake to tell the truth as I know it. Please try to do the same. If a Cuban stand’s in the middle of the street and screams “Baja Fidel” he will be arrested. It is illegal to criticize the government. Que asco!

#35 Comment By Dan Christensen On January 23, 2013 @ 8:54 am

No lies from me, Moses. You should also know that disturbing the peace by shouting and screaming the middle of a street, as you describe, can get you arrested anywhere.

#36 Comment By Griffin On January 24, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

I believe your comment was directed at DC1945, not me.

#37 Comment By jz On January 25, 2013 @ 10:34 am

have any of you guys been to cuba lately? i guess not, cuase most of what you write is totall bullshit, sorry for the word, i´ve been there and guess what, internetuse isnt forbidden by the government exactly the opposite is true, social networks are advertised in all sorts of media, little children learn how tu use computers even so they cant afford one on their own they can use them in schools or librarys. the only problem is the slow connection there and guess what else this isnt a self made problem, they got a little help there from the us government forbidding them to use their tecnology and now you honestly want to tell me that the same government, out of the goodness of their hearts, want to help some cubans to get a faster internet acess, do you really think we are all totally stupid? if that man really wanted to help cubans he could have done it openly there are like a million organisations all over the world trying to help cuba in a lot of ways, some of them even in the states, so sorry if i dont buy the bad boy dictatorship cuba, poor alan gross story

#38 Comment By jz On January 25, 2013 @ 10:43 am

maybe reading the documents wouldnt be to much to ask before you rule out the possibilty that alan gross wasnt an angel trying to help cuba, and since its so easy to find them now that they have been presented in court, maybe read first accuse later here a little help

#39 Comment By Walter Teague On March 4, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

To the new visitor to this page: Don’t be frightened by the ranting. Some of the same commentator here, show up on Cuba related web sites around the world. While some are interested in considering the articles and reported “news” too many just want to repeat opinions that studiously ignore logic and any new facts. One mantra you will often see is to demand links to prove whatever they disagree with. The Alan Gross case attracts much opinion (led by the propaganda of the Washington Post), but now with reporting such as Tracey Eaton’s, the facts are pouring out.

So I will contribute to those interested in facts and sources by adding some of the links I have found and saved:

1. Associated Press, Feb. 13, 2012. First in-depth report in US press spells out the case, including CIA/State Dept. links. Note that Alan Gross’ support page [link below] includes a number of self-serving press links, but jumps right over the AP story link. (If you need a copy, email me.) [10]

2. Decent overview of this case on Wikipedia. [11]

3. Cuban Indictment of Alan Gross, January 29, 2011. (Very revealing details.) [12]

4. Cuban Court Sentencing Decision March 11, 2011 detailing conviction of Alan Gross. (PDF attached) [13]

5. Appeal Decision, Aug. 4, 2011. Note that Gross’ support page highlights a section they think is favorable to their argument, but if you read the whole document (and the others) his awareness he was breaking the law becomes obvious. (PDF without Gross highlighting attached) [14]

6. Alan Gross’ Support Home Page. Note that they have included links and attachments of the major documents, except the AP report of Feb. 13, 2012, and they have been understandably very biased in their use and interpretation of these documents. [15]

7. Perseus Strategies – Press Release Sept. 13, 2012 (English/Spanish) [Note the logo!] [16]

8. Perseus Strategies (These guys deserve to be researched.) [17]

9. Perseus Strategies logo search. Notice the imperialistic logo designs they considered before they choose the one on their documents and site. [18]

10. Statement by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Director of the United States Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba. International Press Center, Havana, December 5 2012. [19]

11. Tracey Eaton has an article in the Havana Times, January 19, 2013. Worthwhile diagram. Followed by some of the usual commentators, some who are interested in facts, but others who just rant. “http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=86161

12. Article by Tracey Eaton on the blog Along the Malecon.com January 21, 2013. Many updated details in “Alan Gross and his Descent into Hell”. “He wasn’t simply in Cuba helping the Jewish community share recipes for bagels and matzo ball soup.” Walter Lippmann. [20]


I welcome any additions or corrections.

#40 Comment By Patrick R On April 8, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

Anyone else see the irony here? The fact that the USG is so concerned about democratizing Cuba that they violate Cuban sovereignty under the guise of expanding free speech while, at home, they trample the rights of Americans by allowing government agencies to collect troves of data on American citizens should raise some eyebrows.

Those of you on here who fail to acknowledge this man is a spy and was working to undermine the government of another nation are disillusioned. I certainly hope you invest as much time and effort defending freedom in this country as you do defending this CIA agent.

My guess would be that the Kool-Aid drinkers here said nothing about metadata programs, and sat on their hands while SOPA, and CISPA were passed here at home.

#41 Comment By Patrick R On April 8, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

You’re right, the majority of “dangerous spy equipment” in this country is owned by the government and collecting info on Americans.

Perhaps you can explain why the US is helping GPS tracking devices in Cuba yet recording that info here…

Article printed from Havana Times.org: http://www.havanatimes.org

URL to article: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=86161

URLs in this post:

[1] Along the Malecon: http://alongthemalecon.blogspot.com/

[2] Image: http://www.havanatimes.org/?attachment_id=86163

[3] download 8-page document: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6Mo1c2bIFLWc2NRTlo1dDdKUmM/edit

[4] download 6-page document: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6Mo1c2bIFLWQmhianNnUkxndzg/edit

[5] download 13-page document: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6Mo1c2bIFLWLWZaNDdSTWxGR1E/edit

[6] download 57-page document: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6Mo1c2bIFLWVWZyUGs5Wm91Rnc/edit

[7] : http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/005/2010/en/62b9caf8-8407-4a08-90bb-b5e8339634fe/amr250052010en.pdf

[8] : http://cubamoneyproject.org/?p=1961#more-1961

[9] : http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/

[10] : http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9SSHGPG2.htm

[11] : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Phillip_Gross

[12] : http://www.bringalanhome.org/newsroom/Indictment.pdf

[13] : http://tinyurl.com/94kyhu8

[14] : http://www.bringalanhome.org/newsroom/Appeal%20Decision.pdf

[15] : http://www.bringalanhome.org/index.shtml

[16] : http://www.bringalanhome.org/newsroom/Newsroom-2012-09-13.pdf

[17] : http://www.perseus-strategies.com/

[18] : http://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/create-next-logo-perseus-strategies-llc-83530

[19] : http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/sicw/EN/Home/tabid/12151/ctl/Details/mid/19908/ItemID/23035/Default.asp

[20] : http://alongthemalecon.blogspot.com/2013/01/alan-gross-and-his-descent-into-hell.html


Copyright © 2008 Havana Times. All rights reserved.


[Note: The four major documents linked in the text are available in PDF’s. Walter Teague.]

A.    Aug26-08-meeting-notes.pdf 8-page document (3).

B.     dai-contract-modification.pdf 6-page document (4).

C.     gross-memo.pdf 13-page document (5).

D.    dai-reply.pdf 57-page document (6).