Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba’s conviction of U.S. citizen likely a ploy

    Cuba's conviction of U.S. citizen likely a ploy
    The Washington Times
    7:22 p.m., Friday, March 25, 2011

    Earlier this month, U.S. Agency for International Development
    subcontractor Alan was sentenced by a Cuban court to 15 years in
    for "crimes against the state." Mr. Gross' attorney, Peter J.
    Kahn, concluded in February that his client was caught in the middle of
    a long-standing political dispute between Cuba and the . I
    agree.

    The freeing of Oscar Elias Biscet from prison on March 11 is connected
    to the Gross case. Mr. Biscet is a leading in Cuba
    who served more than 11 years in prison for his steadfast advocacy of
    peaceful opposition to the communist regime. It seems likely the Cuban
    authorities could be trying to link Gross' ultimate fate to the freeing
    of the five Cuban intelligence agents who were convicted of espionage in
    2001 by U.S. courts. This would be pure blackmail, making Mr. Gross a
    hostage.

    On the other hand, if Cuba releases Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds,
    it likely will be in an effort to score brownie points with the U.S.
    government. It might argue that the freeing of Mr. Gross and Mr. Biscet
    should lead to the lifting of the U.S. trade and
    restrictions against Cuba at a time when the Cuban is in shambles.

    Cuban authorities are not known for making peaceful gestures without
    expecting something of value in return. Let's hope President Obama takes
    a page from their book with regard to the Gross situation.

    JORGE E. PONCE

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/25/cubas-conviction-of-us-citizen-likely-a-ploy/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS