Friday, August 15, 2014

The Cuban man-in-the-street view of Alan Gross

Iván García has written a post on Alan Gross in which he gives some insight into the man-in-the-street's view of the case. A kid who lives in a poor neighborhood near the prison hospital where Gross is being held says he has heard the name somewhere. “He’s the gringo who they locked up for spying in Cuba.” That is how the Cuban media characterize the case.

When Ernesto, a man who repairs bicycle and car tires, was told what Gross had actually smuggled into Cuba, he remarked that “they sell all this stuff on Revolico (an on-line site condemned by the government). What was the Yank up to, setting up a spy ring with commercial toys?”

Ernesto understands what we have said previously -- Cuba has greatly exaggerated the impact Gross's equipment would have had had he succeeded. What he doen't know is the amount of money the US spent on a plot that would have had virtually no impact had it succeeded. (There is an indication that the government may have paid up to $6 million for the project and Alan Gross would have cleared $164,889 had he succeeded).

There are no good guys in this story.

Update 8/17/2014

The Huffington Post has an article on the politics of the Alan Gross case. It blames Raul Castro and US politicians for the stalemate.
Under the law when and where they were arrested Alan and the Cuban Five were guilty. The fairness of both trials left much to be desired and the sentences were excessive. The bottom line is that all were witting and willing instruments of anachronistic policies but they have paid an undeserved price because of their governments inflexibility and self-righteousness.

Update 9/5/2014

The Associated Press reports that Fernando Gonzalez, one of the "Cuban 5," is "cautiously optimistic" about a trade of the remaining Cuban prisoners for Alan Gross. That is the good news. The bad news is that his hope is based on things like Hilary Clinton's book and faith in President Obama, nothing concrete. Gonzalez said he thought freeing Gross without freeing his three colleagues "would be very difficult."

For other posts on Gross and what he actually did, click here.

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