Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alan Gross' predicament

“We tell all Americans all over the world 24 hours a day that you are subject to the laws of the country where you find yourself.”

– U.S. consul general in Port-au-Prince Donald Moore, regarding the case of Americans detained by Haitian authorities after they attempted to bring Haitian children in their custody to the Dominican Republic, February 1, 2010

“It’s their country. The judgment is really up to the Haitian government.”

– State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley on the same case, February 2, 2010

“It would be highly unusual for the secretary of state to intervene in a case involving the judicial process of another country.”

Mr. Crowley responding to a lawyer’s appeal for Secretary Clinton to involve herself in the same case, February 11, 2010

“This is not the first time that unregistered foreign agents have sought to do their nations’ bidding in our backyard, in disregard of our laws and our sovereignty.” … “Today's guilty verdict and the prior guilty pleas by three other defendants in this case should serve as a strong warning to others who operate illegally in the United States on behalf of foreign governments.” … “When unregistered foreign agents believe that they can operate on our soil with impunity and disregard for U.S. laws, it undermines the national security of our country and the safety of our citizens. This case demonstrates our resolve in ensuring that activities conducted in the United States are free from illegal foreign influence.”

Prosecutors’ statements released by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami after the November 2008 conviction of a Venezuelan national for “operating as an illegal agent of the Venezuelan government in the United States.” Three others had already entered guilty pleas. On U.S. soil, they had attempted to carry out a Venezuelan government scheme to make it appear that a Florida individual, rather than the Venezuelan government, was the source of a suitcase of cash donated to an Argentine political campaign.

“Whether Castro leaves Cuba in a vertical or horizontal position is up to him and the Cuban people. But he must and will leave Cuba.”

– Senator Jesse Helms, quoted by TIME magazine upon introduction of the Helms-Burton bill, February 20, 1995

“This is the beginning of the end for Fidel Castro…in a few years, there will be freedom, democracy, and human rights in Cuba, and we’ll all go down there and have a good time.”

– Congressman Dan-Burton, quoted by AP upon the bill’s passage, March 13, 1996

“For the purposes of this Act, a transition government in Cuba” and “a democratically elected government in Cuba…does not include Fidel Castro or Raul Castro.”

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law…the President is authorized to furnish assistance and provide other support for individuals and independent nongovernmental organizations to support democracy-building efforts for Cuba, including the following:

(1) Published and informational matter, such as books, videos, and cassettes, on transitions to democracy, human rights, and market economies, to be made available to independent democratic groups in Cuba.

(2) Humanitarian assistance to victims of political repression, and their families.

(3) Support for democratic and human rights groups in Cuba.”

– Excerpts from the Helms-Burton Act of 1996

“The USAID ‘competitive task order in support of the Cuba Democracy and Contingency Program,’ issued May 8, 2008, discussed what it envisaged. The program ‘is expressly designed to hasten Cuba’s peaceful transition to a democratic society,’ the contract task order says.

“‘Component I – managed off-island until further notice – will consist of an estimated $12 million for the Grants under Contract mechanism as well as have the capacity to respond if USAID is asked to bolster its assistance to consolidate Cuba’s anticipated market and democratic transition,’ it continues. ‘Illustrative program areas include breaking the information blockade with technological outreach through phone banks, satellite internet and cell phones.’”

– From a report in Politico on USAID’s contract with Alan Gross’ employer, DAI

“He who…distributes or participates in the distribution of financial, material, or other resources that come from the United States government, its agencies, subordinates, representatives, functionaries, or private entities [pursuant to the Helms-Burton law] faces a sanction of three to eight years in prison…”

– Excerpt from Cuba’s Law 88, a response to the Helms-Burton law, which it describes as having the goal of “breaking the internal order, destabilizing the country, and liquidating the Socialist State and the independence of Cuba.” The Cuban government used Law 88 to convict 75 dissidents in lightning trials in 2003.

“Alan was helping Cuba’s tiny Jewish community set up an Intranet so that they could communicate amongst themselves and with other Jewish communities abroad, and providing them the ability to access the Internet.”

– From a fact sheet about Mr. Gross distributed last week by a Washington public relations firm


– A U.S. official’s reference to this gizmo, when asked by yours truly what equipment Mr. Gross was providing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the U.S. can trade the Cuban Five which they've had in jail for ages for Alan.