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May 10th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Top Cuban official weighs in on detainment of U.S. citizen

Wolf Blitzer talks to top Cuban official Josefina Vidal about Alan Gross, the U.S. citizen being detained in Havana. Watch the full interview above.

RELATED ARTICLE: Secretary Clinton, Cuban government spar after Blitzer interview

Filed under: Cuba • Situation Room • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. usambcuba

    There is more to these cases (Gross and the Cuban Five) than meets the eye and requires anyone trying to understand the issues to do research into both situations and United States Cuba policies in general. The truth is these cases can be solved and these men freed when the political will exists on both sides. We are not there yet. I don't think we will be able to bully Gross' freedom from the Cubans. Senator Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt) comments are on target. Both countries need to sit down with each other and start dialoguing – probably better through diplomatic channels and outside the purview of the public and press. The press needs to keep asking why can't this get solved. Right now something is more important than the freedom of Gross and the Five. That is what needs to be contrasted. Why is "that" more important than resolving these two cases?

    May 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Miyuki

      CUBA: A Good Old Age in Old Havana – IPS Mar 5, 2010 . The ptrriioy is to care for elderly residents with programmes that could become a model for the rest of Cuba, whose population is ageing ..Jorge Perez-Lopez. inter-census annual increase of the first period, 1907 to 1919. The Cuban population under age 15 usual- ly amounted to about 36% of the total population ..

      September 12, 2012 at 3:34 am |
  2. Les

    Unfortunately there are always excuses for everything. This year is election year and President Obama is probably not going to make any moves in regards to Cuba. Let's wait to after the election for that. Additionally, let us not forget that the Cuban American population is not what it was before. This new generation are not extremist and want closer ties with Cuba. The Old Guard is phasing away, althought they managed to get people like Sen. Rubio elected due to large donations, which allowed him to win the election. But let us not forget that the reality is that the Cuban American Congressmen and Senators do not represent the majority of the U.S. Cuban American population.

    May 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  3. A Nielsen

    You complain about Mr. Gross not being allowed to visit his old mother, when was ANY – prisoner in the USA from another country allowed to visit their family when they were sick or dying.
    Several of the now released prisoners from Guantanamo bay who were released without charge had family members die while they were there.
    US justice is the joke of the world find anyone in the western world who thinks you have a justice system. I have not met one! That includes someone in your lab-dogs England and Canada.
    I'm an Canadian.

    May 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Francisco

      by 2030 Cubans aged 60 years and above ..Cuba Demographics Profile 2011. Flag of Cuba . Age structure. 0-14 years: 17.3% (male 984607/female 931167) . People – note. iiilclt emigration is a continuing problem; Cubans attempt ..The Elderly in Cuba.... In the Middle Ages, people were considered old at 25; at the age of 30, in the . In the year 2000, the Cuban population is expected to be over 11100000, ..Cuba | Data. About Adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can, with understanding . Cuba; Latin America & Caribbean; Upper middle income ..Cuba: Number of People Older than 100 Years on the Rise.. May 5, 2011 . By 2050, when one fourth of the Latin American and Caribbean population is estimated to be older than 60, Cubans will top the list of aged ..Cheers.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  4. Manning El Paso, TX

    Alan Gross is between a rock and a hard place, US government will never negation with Cuba because they are a communist country.

    May 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  5. Edgar Goell

    The Cuban government has a very differentiated position on the case of Alan Gross:
    1. The Cuban government has conveyed to the U.S. government Cuba’s willingness to find a humanitarian solution on reciprocal basis to the case of Mr. Gross.
    2. Mr. Gross was not convicted for helping Cuban Jewish to connect to the Internet. All Cuban synagogues have Internet; they had Internet before Mr. Gross came to Cuba.
    3. Mr. Gross violated Cuban laws by implementing a U.S. government program aimed at attempting against Cuba’s constitutional order. The undercover activities of Mr. Gross in Cuba constitute crimes in many countries, including in the United States.
    4. During his visits to Cuba, Mr. Gross never told the people he contacted that he was working for the U.S. government. He is not an activist who came to Cuba to assist the Cuban people; he is a professional paid for by the U.S. government.
    • Mr. Alan Gross is in good physical conditions, he receives specialized medical care, balanced meals, regular consular access, visits by friends and political and religious personalities. He has had visits by his wife and he maintains systematic and stable communication with his family.
    • The cases of Rene Gonzalez and Alan Gross are very different. Rene served his sentence to the last day, and he remains in the U.S. against his will, away from his family. The decision by a Florida federal judge to allow Rene to travel to Cuba is in line with the conditions imposed for Rene’s supervised release, which allow his traveling to Cuba, following authorization by the probation officer or the court. His wife Olga is not even allowed to visit him during his term of supervised release.
    1. The Cuban government has facilitated all visits by family members, friends, religious figures and political personalities that have requested access to Mr. Gross. These conditions are very different from the cruel regime of solitary confinement that has been arbitrarily meted out against the Cuban Five: Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and even Rene. They have strict restrictions against giving interviews to the U.S. press.
    2. The Five have been almost 14 years in U.S. prisons, for gathering information on terrorist groups conducting attacks against Cuba from the U.S. Such information helped save lives in both countries. The Five were not in the possession of government secrets nor did they attempt against the U.S. security.
    3. Contacts by the Five with their families have faced obstacles and two of them, Gerardo and Rene have not been visited by their wives, Adriana and Olga. Gerardo’s mother died while he was in prison, and the mothers and fathers of the other four are very old. Gerardo and his wife have not been able to conceive a child.

    May 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • john quebec

      You made your point from your perspective, I was in a Cuban prison and was treated in the military Hospital where Allen Gross is been held,that is probably worst and more confined than any in the US. but lets forget the physical condition of the prison how about the constant psychological and emotional torture the Cubans put on Mr.gross? And mind you, the balance meals he is been fed is not what We Americans consider food.your contention of the Cuban five they are convicted terrorist and for their wife and mother they have travel to the US with the exception of the ones who chose to repatriate to Cuba to avoid prosecution for the same crime the five were convicted off.. And if yo believe Josefina Vidal, the Cuban official Interviewed you you must also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny

      May 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • Edgar Goell

        Hola John, I understand that you are personally very involved in the strange and destructive relationship between the superpower which tries to change the regime in Cuba since 1959, and the 11-mio-society of Cuba. I can hear that you are not too objective, and not differentiating, and not precise. I wish you time for reconsidering some of your opinions. One example: the Cuban5 went to Miami in oder to observe what was going on in some of the many criminal and even terrorist exil-Cuban groups down there (so it was not even "espionage"!). Some of those exil-bands had bombed a hotel in Havanna and killed an Italian tourist, bombed a civilian airliner killing all 76 passengers (in 1976), they threw leaflets over Havanna, etc.pp. - just imagine, some powerful country would do this in Washington,DC... The Cuban5 collected many folders about the dangerous activities in Florida, the Cuban government handed all this material over to the FBI (!) – and instead of dealing with the criminal groups based on those files FBI put the Cuban5 into prison – since 1999. The trial was unfair on several counts, Nobel Prize laureates and many other people around the globe have protested this – without reaction. Most people here in Europe think that the obsession of the US against Cuba is inhuman, counterproductive and a violation of international laws – and its a shame.

        May 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • john quebec

        Edgar. your comment that the Cuban spies were only trying to stop terrorism is about as far from the truth as any thing could be.In fact the 5 and their ring were directly responsible for the downig of an unarmed civilian plane, and the killing of two American citizens, in february 1995. Further more your comment is an exact replica of a tv comercial done by Danny Glover, and a leftist group lead by Hugo Chaves and Fidel castro that has been aired in Cuba, and venezuela disorting the facts.

        May 18, 2012 at 10:01 am |
      • usambcuba

        John, respectfully you should research this matter further. The downing of the Brothers to the Rescue plane took place in February, 1996. In addition, a key piece of evidence – satellite photographs showing the positions of the planes at the time of the shootdown were never released and still remain classified to this day? Why? This evidence would likely have exonerated those of the Five who are being held accountable for those deaths. Google Nefarious Details in the Cuban Five Case located on Progreso Weekly and there you will read more about this. In addition you can watch two documentaries – Shootdown and another, Will the Real Terrorist Stand Up and you can draw your own conclusions. Just Google or Amazon these and you can see for yourself.

        May 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Anta

      I'm Dominican, and from what I've heard, Cuba is safer than Dominican Republic, however I've never been to Cuba, and I can't tell you if this is true or not. But if you go to Punta Cana in Dominican Republic, in my oionipn it's the safest place in the whole country and it has most of the best hotels in the Caribbean, especially Be1varo. Also, the Dominican Republic has many cities, like Santo Domingo, Santiago de Los Caballeros, Puerto Plata, La Romana, etc. It also has the highest point in the Caribbean, so if you like hiking, you can visit Pico Duarte that is over 10,000ft high. If you decide to go to the Dominican Republic, I would recommend you to visit these places: Punta Cana, Samane1, Ciudad Colonial, Pico Duarte, Puerto Plata, and Casa De Campo. Good luck.

      February 4, 2013 at 4:31 am |
  6. Mike Allison

    I am amazed at the audacity of the U.S. government when they complain that Mr Gross is unfairly detained in Cuba and Hilary Clinton comments that his human rights are being violated and that he is innocent of all charges. It would be unfair of me to comment on this case not being fully aware of the historical facts.

    However Mrs Clinton is quick to jump on the presumed guilty bandwagon when it comes to the case of a British citizen (Mr Tappin) extradited to the U.S. in chains, when he had never been charged of any offence by the British government, but the U.S. were totally convinced they could not continue in life without him in U.S. custody.

    May I suggest you do an investigation in to this case Wolf and then please explain to the world why there are clearly 2 sets of rules when it comes to certain types of justice withinand without the U.S. Forgive my cynicism but it wouldn't have anything to do with citizenship of the individual – would it?

    May 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  7. cameron mcclimon

    You have got to be kidding me. So america admits that one of it citizens is in being wrongly held im cuba of all places but they refuse to help him get out? I mean is cuba trying to get money or what? why wouldnt they do everything possible to get that man home. What if cuba arrested one of the top political leaders??? we would declare war.. goes to show that we are not and never will be treated equal. i got a idea lets elect wolf and anderson as president and vice president. You guys would definitely win.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Yuskatherin

      I just got back from Cuba last week. I didn't take my cell because I didn't know if it would work there. After some eqeiiruns I was told if your server is Rogers it will work. I'm not trying to plug Rogers. My phone would not have been of any use.For your electrical equipment, buy a converter with all the different plug-ins. They are cheep and most luggage stores carry them.

      September 9, 2012 at 6:29 am |

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