Nearly four years after release, Alan Gross is grateful

My Nov. 29 post about the Alan Gross case led to some lively debate on Facebook. I had raised the possibility that U.S. officials were slow to negotiate for the release of the American development worker because hardline Florida lawmakers needed a victim. Janet Ballantyne, a former honcho at the Agency for International Development, had … 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

$1.5 million in secrets

Back in 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development sent me 123 pages of documents about a mysterious foundation’s work in Cuba. At last, the motherlode. There was just one problem: USAID had blacked out almost every trace of information that might shed light on what the Pan American Development Foundation was doing in Cuba. … 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