Cuba’s foreign prisoners

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | December 4th, 2013

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Cuba's foreign prisoners

Yes­ter­day marked the fourth anniver­sary of the impris­on­ment of Alan P. Gross, a sub­con­trac­tor for the US government’s Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment. Hum­berto Fontova points out that,

In Cuba Alan Gross had worked closely with Cuban Freema­sons and Cuban Jew­ish groups. His main con­tact José Manuel Collera Vento was in fact the “Grand Mas­ter of the Grand Lodge of Cuba.” Collera was also – SURPRISE!!! – a KGB-​trained agent of the Stal­in­ist régime.

Alan Gross made a total of seven trips to Cuba and worked with Cuban Jew­ish del­e­ga­tions in Havana, San­ti­ago and Cam­aguey. Every head of every Cuban Jew­ish group that Alan Gross worked with and befriended him tes­ti­fied against him in “court.”

The wit­nesses knew they had no choice; either they tes­ti­fied against Gross, or their lives were over.

Alan Gross, 64, has lost over 100lbs dur­ing the course of his jail term, and has a large lump grow­ing on his back, which under the “excel­lent free health­care” Cubans endure is con­sid­ered one of the “chronic ill­nesses that are typ­i­cal of his age.”

Gross wrote to Pres. Obama this week, ask­ing for his per­sonal inter­ven­tion,

The State Depart­ment on Mon­day called on the Cuban gov­ern­ment to release Gross. In late Novem­ber, 66 sen­a­tors, led by Sen­a­tor Patrick Leahy, sent Obama a let­ter ask­ing him to “act expe­di­tiously to take what­ever steps are in the national inter­est” to obtain Gross’ release. White House press sec­re­tary Jay Car­ney said in Feb­ru­ary that Obama has “fol­lowed Mr Gross’ case with con­cern and urges his release”.

Robert Menen­dez, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-​Lehtinen, and Mario Diaz-​Balart have writ­ten to the White House on Gross’ behalf. Even Jimmy Carter and Jessie Jack­son tried and failed.

As Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Jour­nal reported, Cuba wants “the release of sev­eral Cuban intel­li­gence offi­cers con­victed in 2001 of spy­ing on the U.S.” in exchange for Gross’ free­dom, rather than a ran­som.

But Gross is not the only for­eigner in Cuba’s jails:

  • Pana­man­ian busi­ness­man Nessin Abadi, in his early 70s and owner of the large Audio­foto chain of elec­tron­ics stores, jailed with­out charges in Cuba for over a year.
  • Another Pana­man­ian, Ale­jan­dro Abood, then 50, was arrested in Havana in 2001. Abood was released five years ago.
  • Stephen Purvis, a British busi­ness­man, was detained in Cuba for 15 months. His company, Coral Cap­i­tal, was behind the Bel­lomonte Golf and Coun­try Club devel­op­ment, which lost £10.6 mil­lion. Purvis spent 16 months in jail and was released last July, along with Amado Fakhre, who was the company’s exec­u­tive director.
  • Cana­di­ans Sarkis Yacoubian, sen­tenced to nine years in a prison in June, and his cousin and busi­ness part­ner, Krikor Bayas­salian, a Lebanese cit­i­zen, who was sen­tenced to four years in prison.
  • Still await­ing trial is another Cana­dian, Cy Tok­makjian, who was arrested in 2011.

Purvis asserts that “there are many more in the sys­tem than is widely known.” The businessmen’s crime? Try­ing to col­lect on the mon­eys they are owed.

Pres. Obama is call­ing for an updated US pol­icy on Cuba, and has eased travel and remit­tance rules for Cuban Amer­i­cans. In exchange for what?

Cuba’s Com­mu­nist régime con­tin­ues to oppress its peo­ple — with 761 polit­i­cal arrests just last month — it extorts and jails for­eign­ers, and it’s our hemisphere’s go-​to place for sex tourism with minors.

Any ease­ment in rela­tions with Cuba is a fail­ure of Obama’s for­eign policy.

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the imprisonment of Alan P. Gross, a subcontractor for the US government’s Agency for International Development. Humberto Fontova points out that,

In Cuba Alan Gross had worked closely with Cuban Freemasons and Cuban Jewish groups. His main contact José Manuel Collera Vento was in fact the “Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Cuba.” Collera was also–SURPRISE!!!–a KGB-trained agent of the Stalinist regime.

Alan Gross made a total of seven trips to Cuba and worked with Cuban Jewish delegations in Havana, Santiago and Camaguey. Every head of every Cuban Jewish group that Alan Gross worked with and befriended him testified against him in “court.”

The witnesses knew they had no choice; either they testified against Gross, or their lives were over.

Alan Gross, 64, has lost over 100lbs during the course of his jail term, and has a large lump growing on his back, which under the “excellent free healthcare” Cubans endure is considered one of the “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.”

Gross wrote to Pres. Obama this week, asking for his personal intervention,

The State Department on Monday called on the Cuban government to release Gross. In late November, 66 senators, led by Senator Patrick Leahy, sent Obama a letter asking him to “act expeditiously to take whatever steps are in the national interest” to obtain Gross’ release. White House press secretary Jay Carney said in February that Obama has “followed Mr Gross’ case with concern and urges his release”.

Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Mario Diaz-Balart have written to the White House on Gross’ behalf. Even Jimmy Carter and Jessie Jackson tried and failed.

As Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal reported, Cuba wants “the release of several Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S.” in exchange for Gross’ freedom, rather than a ransom.

But Gross is not the only foreigner in Cuba’s jails:

  • Panamanian businessman Nessin Abadi, in his early 70s and owner of the large Audiofoto chain of electronics stores, jailed without charges in Cuba for over a year.
  • Another Panamanian, Alejandro Abood, then 50, was arrested in Havana in 2001. Abood was released five years ago.
  • Stephen Purvis, a British businessman, was detained in Cuba for 15 months. His company, Coral Capital, was behind the Bellomonte Golf and Country Club development, which lost £10.6 million. Purvis spent 16 months in jail and was released last July, along with Amado Fakhre, who was the company’s executive director.
  • Canadians Sarkis Yacoubian, sentenced to nine years in a prison in June, and his cousin and business partner, Krikor Bayassalian, a Lebanese citizen, who was sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Still awaiting trial is another Canadian, Cy Tokmakjian, who was arrested in 2011.

Purvis asserts that “there are many more in the system than is widely known.” The businessmen’s crime? Trying to collect on the moneys they are owed.

Pres. Obama is calling for an updated US policy on Cuba, and has eased travel and remittance rules for Cuban Americans. In exchange for what?

Cuba’s Communist regime continues to oppress its people – with 761 political arrests just last month – it extorts and jails foreigners, and it’s our hemisphere’s go-to place for sex tourism with minors.

Any easement in relations with Cuba is a failure of Obama’s foreign policy.

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