Danby joins the protest

November 12, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Federal Labor MP Michael Danby has raised the case of Alan Gross, a US citizen illegally detained in Cuba with Cuba’s ambassador to Australia.

Michael Danby

In December 2009, Gross was detained by Cuban authorities. He had to wait 14 months before being charged in February 2011 with “actions against the independence or the  territorial integrity of the state”. He was also accused by State prosecutors of engaging ‘in a subversive project aiming at bringing down the revolution’.

Gross was tried in March 2011 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Alan Gross worked for USAID and was on a mission to provide wireless networking and Internet connectivity for Cuba’s Jewish population. He was arrested on the final day of his fifth and last scheduled trip to Cuba.

Gross. who suffers from degenerative arthritis, has lost 47 kgs and doctors believe he has a tumor in his shoulder. He is being independent medical evaluation.

A letter pleading Gross’s case has been sent to Hogh Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations Geneva office claiming Cuba’s treatment of Gross is tantamount to torture.

518 Rabbis from 12 countries, including Australia, have sent a letter to Cuban president Raul Castro urging Gross’s release.

Danby continues to plead Gross’s case to Cuba’s Australian representatives.




4 Responses to “Danby joins the protest”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Muchas gracias for your generous presentation, perhaps too generous. From your outlay we have learnt that:

    – Cuba is a bastion of democracy. rule of law, comprehensive freedom, a world recognised scientific paradise, where abundance has overwhelmed its people – with the exception , of course, of those hundred of thousands who have been risking their lives running away from that paradise !

    – That Alan Gross is smartly and wisely used by the guardians of that Cuban paradise as a pawn, a blackmail exchange chip for the above-mentioned innocent Cuban spy agents caught acting criminally in America, that bastion of authoritarian despotism.

    – That you reckon that the rest of the world has no idea what Cuba, a comprehensively failed society, looks like, what kind of foreign policies it has been engaged in since the ’59 revolution, say in Angola or the insurectional exportation of its own brand of happiness to the rest of Latin America etc.

    I, for one, am disgusted by your ranting, by the farcical “reasons” you have dished out, and, mainly by your obvious insulting assumption that we are all a bunch of TONTOS !

  2. Pedro says:

    To J-Wire from the Ambassador of Cuba in Australia

    Regarding the article published in your page J-Wire in November 12, 2012 by Henry Benjamin titled “Danby Joins the Protest” I would like to make some points that will give information on the exact situation of Mr Allan Gross and the relation the issue has with United States policy towards Cuba.

    We have to clarify, first, that Alan Gross has not been tried and sentenced in Cuba because he has been doing “humanitarian and voluntary work” associated with helping the Cuban Jewish community to connect to the Internet. The Cuban synagogues had access to the Internet long before the arrival of Gross in Cuba.

    His purpose was to implement a sophisticated network of communication in Cuba with political objectives and outside the communications systems established in our country. The aim was to carry out covert activities to destabilize Cuba, violating our laws. This kind of behaviour is considered illegal in Cuba as in many countries, including the United States.

    In fact Mr. Gross activities were not voluntary; it is publicly recognized that he has been hired by the U.S. Government to implement federal programs that attempted against Cuba’s constitutional order.

    We have to add that it is more than suspicious that during multiple visits to Cuba, Mr. Gross never told the people he contacted that he was working under a contract for the U.S. Government. He misleads even the Cuban Jewish community.

    It is also very well known that US policy towards Cuba through more than half a century have included a military invasion, mercenary infiltrations, terrorist activities, the openly acknowledged intent to assassinate our leaders and a tough and strict economic, commercial and financial blockade that affect not only our bilateral relations but, since it has an extraterritorial reach, the whole relations of Cuba with the world. Just the past November 13 UN overwhelmingly condemned for the 21st time US Blockade against Cuba. Then the fact that Mr Gross activities have been conceived and financed by the US government is really meaningful. To ignore it would be in the crassest ingenuity.

    Violent activities from such a powerful and neighbouring country against Cuba lead us to develop defensive measures. One of them was the infiltration of 5 Cubans within terrorist Cuban-American groups in New Jersey and Florida seeking to pre-empt their further terrorist actions and to gather evidence about them that could be used to arrest those unlawful and criminal people operating inside U.S. territory. Since this activities have been dangerous even to the American population, our country good willingly gave all the information to the FBI; however instead of stopping those terrorists’ actions, they captured the five Cubans and put them in jail where they have already served unjustly 14 painful years, far from their spouses, children and relatives. On the other hand, it has been proved that they did not infiltrate US military or government facilities but exclusively those extremist groups.

    Let’s also make clear that the state of health of Mr. Gross remains normal and that he is even making intense physical exercises regularly. He also has all the necessary medical attention from Cuban physicians whose high standard is worldly known.

    Mr. Alan Gross received several visits from his wife during his period in jail and we have given to them all the facilities and created the best conditions.

    It is fair to point out that the Cuban Government has conveyed to the U.S. Government its willingness to find a humanitarian solution to the case of Mr. Alan Gross on reciprocal humanitarian bases. On this stand many issues in our bilateral relations could be placed on the negotiating table. However we didn’t have a response from US government until now.

    Let’s finally say that President Obama has taken some limited measures on US Cuba’s policy that we have recognized as positive. But they have a positive nature only to the relationship and regular interaction between Cubans and Cuban-Americans, nevertheless the fundamentals that have historically characterized U.S. policy towards Cuba has not been modified by the Obama administration. The so-called economic sanctions against Cuba (the blockade) remain in force without any change. The US also didn’t modify or stop many other aggressive and destabilizing polices such as radio and television broadcasts, specially designed to promote subversion in Cuba and the constant unjust blacklisting with the obvious purpose of de legitimizing our country. Nor they have been reviewed illegal programs financed in order to promote the overthrown of the Cuban government. Of course they have failed, since changes in Cuba are simply a sovereign right of the Cuban people.

    I will like to take the advantage of this message to state again that Cuba reiterates its willingness to dialogue with the Government of the United States in order to achieve a solution to the case of Mr. Gross and that we are still waiting for a response from their side.

    • Shirlee. says:

      If this is your position then why not contact Michael Danby personally.

      Tel: (03) 9534 8126
      Fax: (03) 9534 1575

      PO BOX 2086
      117 Fitzroy Street,
      St. Kilda VIC 3182

      Office Hours:9-5 Weekdays

      • Pedro says:

        Dear Shirley, the first thing I did was to send a message on the issue to Mr Danby, with whom I have a nice relationship

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