Cuba Willing to Engage in Dialogue with the United States

Prensa Latina News Agency

Cuba reiterated its willingness to engage in dialogue with the United States to find a solution “on reciprocal bases” to the case of U.S. citizen Alan Gross, who is serving a sentence here for violating Cuban law.

Josefina Vidal, director for United States Affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a note released yesterday that the dialogue should include Cuba’s humanitarian concerns related to the case of the four Cuban antiterrorism fighters unjustly held in U.S. prisons.

Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez are currently serving long and unjust sentences for crimes they did not commit and that were never proven, the diplomat said.

The Five, as these five men are known, were arrested along with Rene Gonzalez in 1998, for monitoring organizations that executed and financed actions against Cuba.

Their imprisonment has a high human cost for them and their families. They have not seen their children grow up; they have lost mothers, fathers, and brothers; they are facing health problems; and they have been separated from their families and their country for more than 15 years, Vidal said.

The official referred to the release issued by the office of the State Department spokesperson on Dec. 2, which insisted on Gross’ immediate and unconditional release, arguing that his freedom is unjustified.

Alan Gross was arrested, tried and sentenced for violating Cuban laws by introducing a U.S. government-financed program aimed at destabilizing Cuba’s constitutional order by establishing illegal and covert communication systems with non-commercial technology, she explained.

According to Vidal, these actions constitute serious crimes that are severely punished in most countries, including the United States.

She also said Gross has been treated decently and humanely since his arrest.

Cuba understands the humanitarian concerns surrounding the case, but the U.S. government has direct responsibility for Gross’s situation and that of his family, and as such, should work with the Cuban government to find a solution, she said.

The note also refers to U.S. media reports on a letter on the case that 66 U.S. senators, Democrats, Republicans and independents, sent to U.S. President Barack Obama.

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