Harder Line on Cuba in Alan Gross Push

After Election, Is Havana Confrontation Best Policy?

Havana Headache: President Obama’s reelection could open the way to talks to free Alan Gross. Are his supporters missing the boat by painting Cuba into a corner, instead of pinning hopes on better U.S. ties with the island nation.
courtesy of gross family
Havana Headache: President Obama’s reelection could open the way to talks to free Alan Gross. Are his supporters missing the boat by painting Cuba into a corner, instead of pinning hopes on better U.S. ties with the island nation.

By Paul Berger

Published November 19, 2012, issue of November 23, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 5)

On November 16, another lawyer acting on behalf of the Gross family, sued the U.S. government and Development Alternatives Inc, the contractor that sent Gross to Cuba. The suit, seeking $60 million, claimed that DAI and the United States Agency for International Development negligently allowed Gross to make repeated trips to Cuba despite knowing of “specific risks” to his safety.

Armstrong said the lawsuit alone had the potential to undermine Gross’s case.

Gross has consistently insisted that his work in Cuba was an innocent attempt to improve internet access for the island’s tiny Jewish community. But the lawsuit claims USAID and DAI ignored repeated warnings from Gross that his work appeared to be drawing unwanted Cuban attention. It also claims that Gross should have been given counter intelligence training.

“This makes it sound like he was going in to do sensitive operations of a covert nature,” Armstrong said. “It’s not an admission he was doing intelligence…but it plays further into Cuban government hands that what he was doing was an intelligence style operation, [that] he knew he had been detected and that it was wrong.”

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia by lawyer Scott Gilbert.

A DAI spokesman said the contractor was “disappointed” that the Gross family had filed a lawsuit. “We would like to address the numerous disagreements we have with the content of the complaint,” the spokesman said. “(But) doing so will not advance the cause of bringing Alan home, which remains our highest priority.”

A State Department spokesman referred questions to the Justice Department late on Friday.

The human rights lawyer, Genser, who has led the humanitarian campaign to free Gross since he replaced Peter Kahn in mid-July said he was not a part of the lawsuit and that his work was “focused on securing Alan’s freedom.”

Genser has helped liberate prisoners in some of the world’s most authoritarian countries, including Pakistan, Syria and Nicaragua. He won most of those cases through a nonprofit he founded ten years ago, Freedom Now, that represented Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi before her release from house arrest in 2010 and that continues to represent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.