Today Alan P. Gross’s lawyer and wife have said that the 64 year old man plans to take his own life rather than serve the remaining 11 years of his 15 year sentence in a Cuban prison. Gross was on a hunger strike for 9 days in April when his mother, who recently died of cancer, told him to discontinue it. In a statement on his behalf it was said that he had lost more than 100 pounds (not all due to the hunger strike), is losing vision in one eye, and his hips are failing. Gross is a former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor who was also a volunteer field organizer in 2008 for President Obama’s campaign.
In 2009 Gross set up an unauthorized Internet network for the Cuban Jewish community while working for the USAID. He brought in satellite phones and computer equipment for the Jewish community in clear violation of Cuban law. He did not identify himself as a representative of the U.S. government but rather as part of a Jewish humanitarian group. Yet when he was arrested he had a high-tech chip that keeps satellite phone transmission from being located within a 250 mile radius. This chip is not easily available but the CIA, the Defense and State Departments (the latter oversees USAID) do have access to them. A USAID spokesman claims that they did not help him acquire the chip – but that is probably not true. It does look very much like Alan Gross did commit a crime under Cuban law and he went there deliberately to do so. Although I cannot help but wonder if his handler at USAID didn’t say something like ‘don’t worry, we will handle all the paper work, all you have to do is . . .’ and made it seem like something irregular, but not illegal.
U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen has referred to his treatment by the Cuban government as an effort to get a prisoner exchange (there are a number of Cuban spies they want back). Although not a threat to Cuba, his actions are considered an affront to Cuban sovereignty and Cuba has laws about ‘crimes against the state.’
Judy Gross, Alan’s wife, suggested there should be a swap, especially in light of the recent swap of five Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl. She said in a statement that "My husband and I need President Obama to do everything in his power to end this nightmare and bring Alan home from Cuba now."
U.S. and Cuban officials did not have immediate comment, but Jay Carney, White House spokesman said last December 3 that he ‘doesn't know whether the president has seen the letter penned by a U.S. government contractor jailed in Cuba, in which he expressed fear that the United States had "abandoned" him.’ But according to JJ ‘Obama is personally engaged in freeing Alan Gross.’ Yeah, right. Could Gross have done a more to help Obama get elected? Yes, but would it have helped? Probably not, after all Gross is white and Jewish. One only needs to remember that Obama threw the white grandmother who raised him under the bus.
As a result of this case it seems to me that 1) it is clear that we do leave our men behind (except traitors), and 2) Alan and Judy Gross may want to reconsider their trust in Obama and their delusional belief in him. It is hard to see how Judy Gross could continue to trust Obama, and it seems unlikely that Alan Gross does anymore, after all, he has already spent four years in a communist prison paradise.
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