By Tracey Eaton, Along The Malecon
The Maryland company that sent Alan Gross to Cuba refused to tell him what other subcontractors were working on the company’s Cuba project, held secret meetings without him, and wanted him to eventually target not only Cuban Jews, but “African-Cubans, women, youths and other religious groups,” Gross said in a revealing sworn statement. The statement, filed in U.S. District Court, gives the most detailed picture to date of how Gross wound up working in Cuba and what he was trying to accomplish.
Gross and his wife, Judith, are suing the company, a federal contractor called DAI, and the U.S. government for $60 million, saying they sent Gross to Cuba “without even the most basic education, training, or warnings, which ultimately resulted in his detention in Cuba.”
Gross said he was excited when DAI asked him to take part in the project, but didn’t know many people at the company and recalls one official ordering him to remove an Obama sticker from his laptop.
Gross set up satellite Internet connections at synagogues in Havana and two other cities part of an effort to get around the socialist government’s communication network. Cuban authorities jailed him in December 2009 and accused him of crimes against the state. Before Gross was arrested, a DAI official asked if his contacts in Cuba’s Jewish community could provide “technical support” as part of his project’s expansion to other groups in different parts of Cuba. Gross said: This made me very uncomfortable.
Gross’s full statement is below:
AFFIDAVIT OF ALAN GROSS
Alan Gross, do hereby state the following facts based on my personal knowledge:
1. I am a sixty-three year-old United States citizen. I have been imprisoned in Cuba since December 3, 2009, for alleged acts against the Cuban Government. Specifically, I was sentenced, after a summary trial, for “acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the State.” My sentence is fifteen years.
2. My wife Judy and I have been married for forty-two years, and we have two children, Nina and Shira.
3. I currently weigh 144 pounds. I am 5 feet, 11 inches tall. When I was arrested, my weight was approximately 254 pounds.
4. Since May of 2010, Judy has resided at 250 I Porter Street, NW, Apartment 116, Washington, DC 20008. Although I cannot currently live with Judy at our home in the District of Columbia due to my incarceration, I intend to do so upon my release from prison.
5. I was arrested because of my work under a task order sponsored and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (“USAID”), an independent agency of the United States Government that, by statute, receives foreign policy guidance from the U.S. Secretary of State. The USAID task order (the “Cuba Project”) and my specific
project (the “leT Project”) were implemented by a Washington-area USAID contractor, Development Alternatives, Inc. (“DAI”).
6. I submit this certification in support of the lawsuit that Judy and I filed against the United States of America, based on the conduct of USAID, and against DAI.
7. Because of my continuing imprisonment in Cuba, I have had no access to my written or electronic personal and business files since 2009. I provide the testimony in this certification to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief.
8. I am not permitted to use a computer or other word-processing device, so my attorneys drafted this certification based on three sets of in-person interviews that they conducted with me over the past few months. Specifically, they met with me for two days each session in December 2012, February 2013, and March 2013.
9. 1 reviewed drafts of the certification, directed my attorneys to make changes as appropriate, and then reviewed and signed this document, which truthfully and accurately states my testimony.
10. I am aware of the accusations set forth in the document entitled “Judgment Number 2” of the Popular Provincial Court of Havana, dated March 11,2011, and the document entitled “Sentence Number 2” of the People’s Provincial Tribunal of Havana, dated March 11, 20 II . I also am aware that the accusations in those documents were affirmed in a decision of the People’s Supreme Court of Cuba, dated August 4, 2011.
11. I always have disputed, and continue to dispute, the above-referenced allegations and the validity of my conviction. The arbitrary nature of my conviction and continuing detention is confirmed by the 12-page report of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which is dated November 23,2012, and was released to the public on January 8, 2013. That report concludes that my imprisonment is arbitrary and unfair.
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
12. I was born and raised in the New York metropolitan area, specifically in New Hyde Park, New York, on Long Island. My parents were children of Jewish immigrants who, after coming to the United States from Eastern Europe, lived in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.
13. In 1959, my parents, siblings, and I moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where I completed my public school education.
14. Upon graduating high school in 1967,1 enrolled at the University of Maryland – College Park. Two years later, I joined the National Guard, and served on active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey. I then attended college at night at the University of Maryland, majoring in Sociology, and I was awarded a Bachelor of Science in 1978.
15. My wife Judy and I began dating after graduating high school, when we were 18 years old. We married in 1970.
16. After being released from active duty in 1970, I worked for my father in his window cleaning business in Baltimore.
Read full story here: http://alongthemalecon.blogspot.com/2013/03/alan-gross-tells-all.html