Cuban Authorities Set Date For Trial Of U.S. Contractor Alan Gross

Cuban President Raúl Castro
Cuban President Raúl Castro
Cuban President Raúl Castro

Today in Latin America

Top Story — U.S.A.I.D. contractor Alan Gross will be tried in Cuba on March 4, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana announced Thursday.

The Cuban authorities jailed Gross in December 2009, under vague accusations of trying to foment subversion on the island by illegally distributing satellite equipment. Gross says he brought the equipment to help the country’s Jewish community improve its Internet access.

Communist Party daily Granma published a brief note on Feb. 5 saying Cuban prosecutors will charge Gross with the crime of “Acts against the Independence or territorial integrity of the State,” and seek a twenty-year sentence.

Gross’ case has been a major point of contention between the Castro government and the Obama administration, even as Obama has sought to open U.S.-Cuba relations by easing restrictions on travel and remittances.

“We hope he receives a fair trial and is allowed to come home,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a tweet. “What he did is not a crime.”

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