Ex-diplomat in Havana: “I was never really given any marching orders”

An American diplomat “created a puppet company called ABS Gazebo” and used it as “a cover to smuggle in parts for the enormous electronic ticker” that lit up the former U.S. Interests Section in Havana in 2006. James Cason told people he “had no more stamina to fight Fidel and instead wanted to setup a … Read more

Ex-official: Alan Gross gave hardliners a pretext for hostility

U.S. officials let an American development worker languish in a Cuban prison rather than quickly negotiate his release because they were under pressure from hardline Florida lawmakers eager to highlight Cuba as an “evil empire,” a former U.S. official said in an interview. Cuban authorities arrested Gross in 2009 for setting up illegal Wi-Fi hotspots. … Read more

Lobbyist lands in the White House

One of the most successful advocates for a hardline U.S. position against Cuba is now in the White House. Lobbyist Mauricio Claver-Carone is director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council. He works for NSC chief John Bolton, who famously – and some would say erroneously – said in 2002 that Cuba was … Read more

Like father, like son: The urge to rebel

Juan Juan Almeida, son of a revolutionary who fought with Fidel Castro, grew up around Cuba’s political and military elites. He studied criminal law and became a lawyer. In 2009, he wrote “Memoirs of an unknown Cuban guerrilla fighter,” a novel that satirized the ruling class. He wanted to leave the country, but authorities wouldn’t … Read more

Intrigue over a $6.4 million payment

The federal government paid $6.4 million to a lawyer who helped secure the release of Alan Gross, an American development worker jailed in Cuba for five years. The U.S. Agency for International Development gave the money to Gilbert LLP, a Washington, D.C. law firm, records show. Scott Gilbert, a partner at the firm, was the … Read more