Alan Gross: Castros have no power nor relevance to Cuba's future
Published January 23, 2016 EFE
By Lucia Leal
U.S. citizen Alan Gross believes the Castro brothers no longer hold the
reins of power in Cuba, nor are they relevant to the island's future,
and he would like to visit again the country where he was imprisoned for
five years as "a pawn, a prisoner of two governments" at daggers drawn
In an interview with EFE, the U.S. contractor, whose incarceration in
Cuba was a stumbling block to any reconciliation of the two countries,
said the Cuban government is "fractured in different factions trying
desperately to hang onto their piece of a disintegrating pie."
"The Castros are no longer (really) in power. They're not relevant to
the future of Cuba," Gross, 66, said at the Washington apartment where
he has lived since shortly after his liberation on Dec. 17, 2014, the
same day the diplomatic thaw between the United States and Cuba was
Cuba's ex-President Fidel Castro, he said, "isn't a young man, his time
is limited and his days are over."
"He belongs to the past. Cuba can't allow itself to live in the past,
and everyone knows it," said Gross, for whom President Raul Castro "does
not have complete control, as his brother did."
Gross, an electronics specialist contracted by the U.S. to install
devices that would allow access to the Internet for a small Jewish
community in Cuba, was arrested in 2009 and sentenced in 2011 to 15
years in prison for what the Cuban government described as "actions
against the territorial integrity of the state."
"I didn't go to Cuba to do intelligence work. I went to Cuba to improve
the way people connected with the Internet, as 3 billion people do every
day," Gross said.
Though he never saw his work in Cuba as a risky business, he said that
the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, which
contracted him, "definitely" knew that the mission they assigned him was
illegal on the island.
Gross, a fervent defender of the process of bilateral rapprochement,
radiates positive energy and does not appear bitter about what happened,
convinced that it is better "to concentrate on the next five years than
on the last five."
He is also convinced that the United States will "inevitably" lift the
embargo on the island, because "most Americans want it" and "at this
point in time, it's really insignificant" and doesn't do anything to
stop Cuba from trading with the world. EFE
Source: Alan Gross: Castros have no power nor relevance to Cuba's future
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