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SundayMay 6, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Lebanese Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Arms to FARC in Exchange for Cocaine

Lebanese Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Arms to FARC in Exchange for Cocaine

Photo: Jamal Yousef pleads guilty to conspiring with FARC

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A Lebanese citizen has pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Manhattan to conspiracy to provide weapons to Colombian guerrillas in exchange for more than a ton of cocaine, prosecutors said.

The defendant, 54-year-old Jamal Yousef, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to provide material support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.

Judge John Kennan has set sentencing for August 13, Bharara said.

The indictment charged that between July 2008 and July 2009 Yousef agreed to provide the Marxist rebels with AR-15 and M-16 assault rifles, grenades and other explosives stolen from the U.S. Army in Iraq in exchange for more than a ton of cocaine.

Yousef, who was arrested in August 2009 in Honduras and subsequently extradited to the United States to stand trial, secured a sentence reduction by entering the guilty plea.

The case was built on an international U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation.

The FARC, which has fought a decades-old insurgency against a succession of Colombian governments, is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups.

Read more by HS News Staff →

95% of Bananas from Dominican Republic Went to Europe in 2010

95% of Bananas from Dominican Republic Went to Europe in 2010

Photo: Dominican Republic exported 303,000 tons of bananas in 2010

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According to DR1, the Dominican Republic exported bananas to Europe for a total of US$198,000,000 in 2010, through the sale of 303,000 tons of bananas.

European Union ambassador, Irene Horejs, provided the figures and noted that the sale of the fruit had benefitted over 300,000 people, both directly and indirectly. She said that 95% of the bananas from the Dominican Republic go to Europe while the other 5% go to the United States, Japan and the Antilles.

The country has preferential access to the European Union market through the Lome IV Agreement. Exports have increased at a rate of 16% per year since 2000.

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Peru’s New Amazon Road Could Threaten Uncontacted Tribes’ Land

Peru’s New Amazon Road Could Threaten Uncontacted Tribes’ Land

Photo: Uncontacted Tribes' Land in Danger

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Peru’s Congress is about to approve a highly controversial road that will divide the Madre de Dios Reserve, where at least two uncontacted tribes live.

Congressmen are considering a law that could declare the project a ‘public necessity’, and consequently bypass huge indigenous opposition.

The proposed road will run across the southeast of Peru’s Amazon from Puerto Esperanza in the Purus region near Brazil to Iñapari.

The project notably omits reference to uncontacted tribes, as well as opposition from the region’s indigenous peoples, who make up 80% of the population.

They fear the road will attract an onslaught of illegal loggers and colonists who would devastate their forest and the uncontacted Indians living there.

Puerto Esperanza’s Catholic priest Miguel Piovesan is widely considered to be the main driver behind the project.  He has insisted, “There is no danger of a logging invasion.”

However Peru’s comprehensive failure to curb illegal logging in the Amazon has been internationally condemned.  More than 114,000 people have signed a Survival International petition to stop the invasion of illegal loggers on uncontacted tribes’ land.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peru Recognizes Grammy Winner Tania Libertad for 50-year Career

Peru Recognizes Grammy Winner Tania Libertad for 50-year Career

Photo: Tania Libertad is awarded the Order of Merit

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Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo awarded the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service in the “degree of great officer” to singer Tania Libertad for her 50-year artistic career.

In a ceremony at the presidential palace in Lima, Roncagliolo pinned the medal on the famed Peruvian artist, who has lived for more than 30 years in Mexico and received a Grammy Award for her lifetime musical career in 2009.

“To be honored by my country not only moves me deeply but also makes me a very privileged person,” the singer told guests at the palace.

Tania Libertad, 59, said that though she has not been physically in Peru for many years, it was always in her heart and in her roots.

“I began this wonderful vocation when I was a very little girl. Music has been my whole life and I had the luck to always have great creative people around me, great artists who taught me to stay on the right road,” she said.

The artist, who will give a concert in Lima next week, said that spreading the “wonderful culture of Peru” will continue to be her priority.

Throughout her artistic career, the singer has shared the spotlight with such stars as Armando Manzanero, Miguel Bose, Pablo Milanes, Vicente Fernandez and many more.

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Miguel Cotto Battles Floyd Mayweather and Loses in Unanimous Decision

Miguel Cotto Battles Floyd Mayweather and Loses in Unanimous Decision

Photo: Migual Cotto Loses to Floyd Mayweather

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Puerto Rico’s favorite boxer, Miguel Cotto, gave quit a show to his fans and all the pay-per-view audience watching his fight against Floyd Mayweather.  Mayweather was victorious at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with scores of 117-111, 1117-111 and 118-110 but Cotto rode it out until the 12th and final round.

Saturday’s fight saw the great Mayweather win by a unanimous decision, winning nine rounds to three.  He is now the WBA super light-middleweight title holder.  This impressive win gives him a 43-fight record.  Mayweather will now serve a three-month prison sentence for domestic violence.

31-year-old Cotto, born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a former WBA super light- middleweight champion and has been a four-time world champion in three different weight divisions.  He has participated in the Pan Am Games, Summer Olympics and Junior World Championships.

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Senior UN Official Angered By Recent Murders of Journalists in Mexico

Senior UN Official Angered By Recent Murders of Journalists in Mexico

Photo: Veracruz, Mexico

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The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today voiced alarm and anger over the murders of three Mexican journalists in the state of Veracruz in less than a week.

The bodies of Gabriel Huge and Guillermo Luna Varela were found on 3 May – which is observed annually as World Press Freedom Day – in plastic bags near the banks of a canal in Boca del Rio.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters without Borders the journalists had been reported missing the day before, after being called out to cover a road accident.

The bodies of two other people, retired photographer Esteban Rodriguez and Irasema Becerra, companion of Mr. Luna, were found nearby.

These latest killings follow the murder on 28 April of Regina Martinez, who was found dead in her home in Xalapa, also in the state of Veracruz. She was known particularly for her in-depth reporting on drug cartels.

These three new deaths bring to nine the total number of journalists murdered in the region over the past 18 months, UNESCO said in a news release.

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Supermodel Bar Refaeli Bares All For Her Lingerie Line

Supermodel Bar Refaeli Bares All For Her Lingerie Line

Photo: Bar Refaeli

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Bar Refaeli is completely naked in a new ad campaign for her underwear company, Under.Me.

The nearly two-minute black and white clip prominently features the supermodel’s new men’s collection.

The video features Refaeli taking a bath, spliced with shots of her wearing a V-neck tee, undies and a pair of socks while she mows the lawn, skims the pool, and smokes a cigar.  After her chores Refaeli is seen getting out of the bath and standing completely nude as she checks herself out in the mirror.

“I feel I look my best when I’m comfortable.” the 26-year-old model says on the company’s website, which also sells women’s undergarments.  “Because underneath my clothes lies the real me. Nothing else.”

The complete ad can be seen here:


Related Videos

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Brazilian Prison Riot leaves 2 Inmates Dead and 11 Wounded

Brazilian Prison Riot leaves 2 Inmates Dead and 11 Wounded

Photo: Prison Riots in Brazil

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At least two inmates died Saturday and 11 others were wounded, one of them seriously, in a clash between rival gangs at a jail in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife, police officials said.

Some 50 prisoners joined in the riot that broke out before dawn Saturday in the Anibal Bruno Penitentiary in the capital of Pernambuco state.

The two fatalities died of wounds and burns suffered during the clash.

Meanwhile the injured, one of them suffering a serious bullet wound, were rushed to medical centers, according to the online edition of the daily Diario de Pernambuco.

During the battle behind bars, inmates set fire to fabrics, mattresses and gas cylinders, shots were heard and security forces fired rubber bullets to stop the fighting.

The jail’s superintendent of security, Col. Fernando Melo, said the riot broke out among inmates of rival gangs for reasons not yet determined.

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Univision Stations Are Most Watched Local Newscasts in the Country

Univision Stations Are Most Watched Local Newscasts in the Country

Photo: Univision

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Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, today announced that for the second consecutive sweep month, its owned-and-operated (O&O) television stations in Los Angeles and New York led all other stations in the country with the most watched early and late local newscasts, among Adults 18-34 and 18-49, regardless of language.  WXTV Univision 41 in New York is also the most watched station in early local news among Adults 25-54.
 
Additionally, in primetime, KMEX Univision 34 in Los Angeles and WXTV Univision 41 in New York led all other stations in the country as the No. 1 and No. 2 most watched stations among Adults 18-34, while KMEX was also No. 1 among Adults 18-49. 
 
Univision owned-and-operated stations television stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Phoenix and Sacramento finished the April sweep period as the No. 1 stations in their markets, regardless of language, in several dayparts and demographics. 
 
“Our owned-and-operated stations continue to make us proud,” said Kevin Cuddihy, President, Univision Television Group. “The sheer volume of No. 1 performances in key markets around the country shows that the strong programming, including culturally relevant news, continues to be one of our core strengths when going up against the English- and Spanish-language competition. These results reaffirm the Univision Television Group’s position as the top broadcast news group in the country, regardless of language.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

2012 World Beer Cup Winners Announced, Latin America Takes Home Several Top Prizes

2012 World Beer Cup Winners Announced, Latin America Takes Home Several Top Prizes

Photo: Mexico's Hazmela Rusa Wins gold at World Beer Cup

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Brewers from around the world received awards from an elite international panel of judges in the 2012 Brewers Association World Beer Cup. The ninth bi-annual competition boasted the strongest field of entrants on record, with 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories.

Referred to as the ‘The Olympics of Beer Competition’ since brewers are eligible for either gold, silver and bronze awards.  A total of 284 awards were given at this year’s ceremony held in San Diego

Mexico’s Cerveza al Cingoneria Hazmela Rusa won a Gold in the Chocolate Beer category while Chicago’s Last Chance won a gold in American-Belgo Style Ale category.  In the Australasian, Latin American or Tropical-Style Light Category Argentina’s Quilmes Cristal won a gold.

In the same category Norte Blanca from the Cerveceria y Malteria Quilmes brewery in Buenos Aires, Argentina won bronze.  Bolivia’s Paceña Pico de Oro took a gold for best International Style Lager while Norte Blanca won again winning a bronze, a category that had over 60 entries. 

For a complete list of winners visit the World Beer Cup site here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alien Smuggling Ringleader Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison

Alien Smuggling Ringleader Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison

Photo: Texas man sentenced to 18 years in federal prison

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A 27-year-old southwest Texas man was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison Monday for alien smuggling that resulted in the death of a Honduran national. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol.

Fernando Ochoa, 27, was sentenced April 30 in federal court in Eagle Pass, Texas, to 216 months in federal prison.

“Targeting smugglers who prey on human beings is an HSI top priority,” said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. “Human smugglers have a callous disregard for the value of life. We will continue to aggressively pursue these alien smugglers who jeopardize the lives of others for their personal profit.”

According to court documents, on Sept.15, 2010, the Border Patrol had been tracking suspected crossings of illegal aliens through the brush in the vicinity of Highway 277 between Eagle Pass and Carrizo Springs. That day the Border Patrol detained several illegal aliens who told agents that one man had been abandoned in the brush. The Border Patrol responded to the location and encountered a deceased Honduran national.

The Border Patrol contacted HSI and apprised them of the situation. HSI special agents responded and immediately began questioning those arrested by the Border Patrol. HSI learned that Luis Francisco Ochoa-Ramon and Ariel Gonzalez, both Mexican nationals, worked for Ochoa as alien smuggling guides. Both Ochoa-Ramon and Gonzalez were arrested and convicted of human smuggling resulting in death. They were each sentenced to 60 months in federal prison.

More information can be found at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s website

Read more by HS News Staff →

First Time at Derby Mario Gutierrez Rides to Victory on I’ll Have Another

First Time at Derby Mario Gutierrez Rides to Victory on I’ll Have Another

Photo: Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another, Kentucky Derby

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As the mint julep’s flowed and Cinco de Mayo cheer was plentiful, the audience at Churchill Downs was focused on I’ll Have Another’s ride to victory.  The 15-1 to shot, named after the owners wife’s cookies, was ridden to victory by jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Gutierrez and his horse also rode into the history books by becoming the first horse to win coming out of the 19th post. 

This was the first visit to the Kentucky Derby for the Mexican jockey. ““Like all jockeys, we all dream that one day, fortunately, I would be in the Kentucky Derby,” Gutierrez said Saturday.  The jockey was masterful during all times of the race.

In spite of the 19th post spot, after the first turn I’ll Have Another was already in 6th place amongst the field of 20 horses.  This incredible feat makes Gutierrez, 25,  from Vera Cruz, Mexico the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby on their first try since 2004.  He was discovered by owner J. Paul Reddam after winning 91 races as a novice in Canada and has been jockeying since age 14.

And of course we can’t forget the connection between the Mexican jockey and Cinco de Mayo – something owner Reddam did not forget. “There was some karma today because it was Cinco de Mayo,” Reddam said, “and we rode the Mexican rider.”

We hope Gutierrez’ and I’ll Have Another’s Cinco de Mayo luck continues to win them Triple Crown glory.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Heavy Rains in Peru Leave 260,000 Homeless and 53 Dead over Last 6 Months

Heavy Rains in Peru Leave 260,000 Homeless and 53 Dead over Last 6 Months

Photo: Heavy rains in Peru

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Since November last year, when the rains began to fall in Peru, until recent days, the total affected by natural disasters is very high. The news, sent to Fides from the Catholic radio station Onda Azul in Puno, reports the data in the Report of the National Institute of Civil Defense, regarding the consequences of heavy rains in the last 6 months: 53 deaths, 267,391 homeless, 9,383 houses destroyed.

Some mountain areas of the “Sierra” as it is known throughout the central part of the Andes that cross the country from north to south, are considered at risk due to avalanches, especially when rains are abundant, as happened in recent months.

Processed data related to losses in agriculture have still not been carried out, because many cultivated fields were destroyed or wiped away by rivers and avalanches in many areas of the country, causing huge losses to farmers.

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New Film Starring Oscar Winner Ernest Borgnine Hopes to Unite Latinos and Anglos

New Film Starring Oscar Winner Ernest Borgnine Hopes to Unite Latinos and Anglos

Photo: Vincent Fernandez meets the man and has an impact on his life

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“The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez,” starring Ernest Borgnine, Barry Corbin and Carla Ortiz is, according to its actors, a bridge of respect between the Latino and Anglo cultures.

In the film, 95-year-old Oscar winner Borgnine plays Rex Page, a old man bitter because he never achieved fame and lived what he considers a pointless life. When he suffers a stroke, he ends up in a nursing home where he is looked after by Latin American immigrants.

“He puts all his energy in getting out, which at first causes conflict with workers at the home, most of them Latinos,” Ortiz, who plays the part of Solena, a physiotherapist nurse, told Efe.

“But their relations take on new significance when it is discovered that he once shook hands with Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez. In a certain way this small incident gives his life some meaning,” the Bolivian actress said.

“One of the most beautiful things about the film and specifically about my character is that it shows, once again, the dignity of the Latino woman. Solena is a hard-working lady with great dignity and dedicated to her profession - she sees in each and every one of her patients a chance to make life more meaningful for the person she is treating and to enrich her own life,” Ortiz said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN Fears Venezuela Departing Human Rights Commission

The United Nations today voiced concern over Venezuela’s announcement that it is establishing a committee to evaluate the possibility of withdrawing from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  The IACHR is an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the Americas.

“Regional human rights bodies play a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights mechanisms and reinforce universal human rights standards and treaties,” stressed Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The IACHR, which is more than 50 years old and is a highly respected body, has in particular had a very positive impact in the region, and it has been crucial in obtaining justice for large numbers of victims of human rights violations, particularly during the period when dictatorships ruled many countries in the region,” he said.

Mr. Colville noted the longstanding relationship between the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) and the IACHR in areas such as citizen security, juvenile justice, torture prevention and prison conditions, as well as the collaboration between the UN Human Rights Council and IACHR experts on issues relating to freedom of expression, torture and indigenous rights, among others.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Young Mexican Girl Granted Asylum in US After Mother and Grandmother Killed

Young Mexican Girl Granted Asylum in US After Mother and Grandmother Killed

Photo: Heidi Rubi Frayre has been granted asylum in the U.S.

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A 4-year-old Mexican girl whose mother and grandmother were murdered south of the border has received asylum in the United States, her uncle said Friday.

Heidi Rubi Frayre is already living with relatives in the United States, Juan Frayre Escobedo told Efe.

“She’s fine and she’s even already going to school, but her adaptation will take time because she has gone through very tough situations, such as the loss of her mother and later of her grandmother,” he said.

Heidi’s mother, Rubi Marisol Frayre, was slain in 2008 in Ciudad Juarez, the gritty border metropolis just across the Rio Grande from El Paso that is Mexico’s murder capital.

She was 16.

Though boyfriend Sergio Rafael Barraza Bocanegra was ultimately arrested and charged with the crime, his 2010 trial ended in an acquittal, with judges citing a lack of evidence.

An appellate court subsequently overturned that decision and found Barraza guilty, but he remains at large.

Incensed at seeing her daughter’s killer go unpunished, Marisela Escobedo led marches and protests to demand justice until she was gunned down on Dec. 16, 2010, while picketing in front of government offices in Chihuahua city, capital of the like-named state.

Several members of the extended family subsequently fled to the United States after receiving death threats.

Heidi Rubi was brought across the border by four uncles and other kin days after her grandmother’s slaying.

While the adults were kept at an immigration detention center in El Paso, the little girl was sent to a special children’s facility in Houston, where she spent a little more than a month before authorities placed her in the care of family members.

Monica Arias Hernandez, daughter-in-law of Marisela Escobedo, was granted political asylum in the United States last year.

The 34-year-old Arias was a witness at the trial of the suspected killer of Rubi Marisol Frayre.

Read more by HS News Staff →

RUBIO WATCH:  Marco Rubio on Anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

RUBIO WATCH:  Marco Rubio on Anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Photo: Marco Rubio

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This week in Marco Rubio’s weekly newsletter the Senator from Florida noted the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death by reflecting on the future of the country’s national security. He also called for passage of The Down Payment to Protect National Security Act, a bill he cosponsored, which stops the automatic, across-the-board cuts to our nation’s defense capabilities.

Rubio noted: “Unfortunately, the world remains a dangerous place and requires American leadership to address the numerous security challenges we face at home and abroad.  Bin Laden is gone, but there are many more dangerous terrorists around the world who seek our destruction, as well as rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea that pose significant nuclear threats. Having a 21st century military to meet these and other challenges is of critical importance.”

“This legislation is one option to help solve this problem, but the reality is Washington needs to have a sense of urgency to help stop these across-the-board cuts from taking full effect in 2013. The longer we wait to address this concern, the more tenuous our national security becomes.”

 

 

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Alan Gross Calls Offer to Fly Terminally Ill Mother to Cuba “Baloney”

Alan Gross Calls Offer to Fly Terminally Ill Mother to Cuba “Baloney”

Photo: Alan Gross, US contractor currently behind bars in Cuba

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U.S. contractor Alan Gross, behind bars in Cuba since December 2009, termed an alleged offer by the island’s authorities to fly in his terminally ill mother “baloney.”

In a phone interview with CNN aired Friday, Gross said his attorney sent a letter to Cuban President Raul Castro on March 7 requesting he be granted a two-week furlough to travel to the United States to visit his 90-year-old mother, who has inoperable lung cancer, and his daughter.

“We’ve gotten no response, no response whatsoever ... My mother is not allowed to travel. She is medically ordered not to travel. And the government of Cuba knows this. And yet they offered to send a plane to Miami to bring her here. My mother does not live in Miami. My mother lives in Texas,” Gross told CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

“That’s baloney. I’m trying to catch myself so I don’t use a stronger word.

The U.S. State Department has asked Cuba to heed Gross’s request as a reciprocal measure after Washington allowed Cuban intelligence agent Rene Gonzalez - on probation in Florida after serving 13 years for espionage - to travel to the island in late March for a brief visit with his terminally ill brother.

“The fact that the United States allowed Rene Gonzalez to travel here to see his brother and the government of Cuba will not reciprocate means that on the issue of reciprocation there’s a lot of hypocrisy,” the contractor said.

Gross added that he thinks it is “shameful” for the Cuban government “not to show the respect to respond officially” to his letter.

He pledged during the interview that he would return to Cuba and complete his 15-year sentence if authorities on the Communist-ruled island grant his request.

“I would return to Cuba. You can quote me on that. I’m saying it live. I would return to Cuba if they let me visit my mother before she dies,” Gross said.

Asked about his day-to-day life, Gross said he was being held at a “secured hospital building” with three people to a room as opposed to a “typical Cuban jail.”

He said he “didn’t really see any sunlight for the first year-and-a-half or so” behind bars, his “food was infested with insects” and he was not allowed to read anything.

“And eventually, after the conviction and after the Supreme Court upheld the conviction things improved as far as my physical comforts were concerned.”

Gross recalled a visit he received two years ago from Dominican President Leonel Fernandez, who told him his imprisonment was not personal but merely “an effort on the part of the Cuban government to express its disdain to the United States and to try to bring about some kind of trade.”

(The prisoner was alluding to Gonzalez and four other Cuban intelligence agents, known as the “Cuban Five,” who were arrested by the FBI in 1998 and convicted three years later by a federal jury in Miami of espionage. Havana says the men - all except Gonzalez still in prison, one serving a life sentence - were spying on Miami’s Cuban exile community not the U.S. government.)

“But right now, it is about me and it’s about my family and it’s about my mother. And I’m taking this very personally,” Gross said.

Now 63, Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, in possession of satellite communications equipment he said he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community.

Havana says he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion on the Communist-ruled island. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year jail sentence imposed on Gross five months earlier.

Gross was in Cuba as an employee of a Maryland firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Washington, which has repeatedly denied the accusations against Gross and called for his release, has dismissed suggestions that it offer to trade the members of the Cuban Five for the contractor.

Read more by HS News Staff →



SundayMay 6, 2012