Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    After Bergdahl, will U.S. and Cuba make swap involving Alan Gross?

    After Bergdahl, will U.S. and Cuba make swap involving Alan Gross?
    From Isabel C. Morales, CNN
    June 11, 2014 — Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
    Cubans say the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl shows a prisoner swap is
    They say former USAID contractor Alan Gross could be next
    Cuban authorities want the U.S. to swap Gross for three imprisoned Cuban

    Washington (CNN) — Could former U.S. State Department contractor Alan
    Gross be part of a new prisoner swap?
    Two Cubans convicted of spying in the United States are pushing for the
    deal. They argue that U.S. President Barack Obama could follow the
    release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with a similar exchange, swapping
    three of their imprisoned colleagues in exchange for Gross.
    “The only thing missing is political will,” Fernando Gonzalez told
    reporters Tuesday, speaking from Havana in a teleconference broadcast at
    the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. “I cannot think of a reason
    for him not to do something similar to what he did (with Bergdahl).”
    Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence for bringing satellite
    communications equipment to Cuba as part of his work as a subcontractor
    for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was convicted in
    March 2011.
    Gonzalez is one of the “Cuban Five,” a group of Cuban agents who were
    arrested in South Florida in 1998 and convicted of espionage in 2001.
    Two of them — Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez — were released from
    prison and have returned to Cuba. Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and
    Antonio Guerrero remain in prison in the United States.
    Since their conviction, the agents have been the focus of an
    international campaign by the Cuban government to have them freed. Both
    of the freed agents have joined the lobbying effort.
    The pair already say the Bergdahl exchange shows a deal is possible,
    despite the criticism Obama has faced since the controversial swap of
    the U.S. soldier for five Taliban figures who’d been detained at
    Guantanamo Bay.
    “I think this is the time to do it. I think we had never had a more
    favorable moment to go that route than we have now. I think that the end
    result would have an important and positive impact, not only on us, but
    also on future generations,” Rene Gonzalez said during Tuesday’s
    But State Department officials have stressed that Bergdahl’s case is
    different, given that he was a member of the U.S. armed forces who was
    captured in the midst of a military conflict. However, State Department
    officials say they are taking steps to ensure that Gross is returned to
    the United States.
    “Alan Gross is an international development worker, and his situation is
    not comparable in any way to those of the convicted Cuban intelligence
    agents. The Cuban intelligence agents were tried transparently under due
    process rights that we extend to all defendants in our judicial system,”
    a State Department spokesman said in an e-mail to CNN.
    “Cuban government interlocutors frequently attempt to compare Mr. Gross’
    imprisonment to that of five convicted Cuban intelligence agents, three
    of whom continue to serve sentences in the United States.”
    U.S. officials said Gross was merely trying to help Cubans bypass the
    island’s stringent restrictions on Internet access. But Cuban
    authorities say Gross was part of a plot to create “a Cuban spring” and
    destabilize the island’s single-party communist government.
    U.S. federal prosecutors called the “Cuban Five” a dangerous undercover
    spy cell. The Cuban government said they were gathering intelligence to
    prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba.
    The apparent U.S. reluctance to pursue a swap hasn’t stopped the Cuban
    government from pushing for it and saying that it would be open to
    discussing the matter with the United States.
    “We are not talking about an exchange, we are talking about unilateral
    decisions which, obviously, would have to be interrelated,” said Cuban
    Ambassador Jose Ramon Cabañas. “The United States government has called
    on us to discuss humanitarian concerns. We, too, have a number of
    humanitarian concerns. We have said repeatedly that we are willing to
    seek a solution.”

    Source: After Bergdahl, could American contractor Alan Gross be next
    swap? – –