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 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.