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 Gross was sentenced by a Cuban court to 15 years in
prison 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 United States. I
The freeing of Oscar Elias Biscet from prison on March 11 is connected
to the Gross case. Mr. Biscet is a leading political prisoner 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
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 embargo and travel
restrictions against Cuba at a time when the Cuban economy 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