Thursday, March 10, 2011

Alan Gross in Castro's deathtrap


The trial of the American citizen, Alan Gross, in Cuba charged with crimes against the state, had been unravelled and ended a few days ago. A verdict is expected in the coming days. If convicted, Mr. Gross faces up to 20 years in prison.

The ailing Mr. Gross, 61, was detained in December 2009 when, according to Cuban authorities, he was distributing satellite telephone equipment to Jewish groups on the island that would have allowed them access to the Internet, which is widely restricted by the Cuban government.

From the very beginning, the case of Alan Gross has been a key component in Castro’s hands to exchange the American contractor with his five spies incarcerated in Unites States. It is also a pawn in his hands to show to the people of Cuba “how far” the American government is going in its secret war against Castro’s regime.

Castro is playing his favourite theme in the strained relationships between Cuba and US: nothing is change in US policy towards Cuba, Obama administration wants to subvert the Cuban revolution, Cuba has to defend itself against the subversive internet.

It is not casual then, that the next day Castro has unravelled a documentary in his state-controlled TV showing how the American government is trying to create “clandestine networks’ connection” in Cuba, and uncovering another “informant” of State Security.

It is clear, though, that this “informant or agent” was dedicated to performing illegal work to himself, and undoubtedly, he was caught and forced to “cooperate” with Cuba’ State Security Agency. It had happened in the past. It is a typical procedure used by Castro’s officials along all these years in power.

Without any doubt, we are watching the first act of a well prepared staging to, not only sent a message to Castro’s opposition within Cuba, but to demonize Internet and demonstrates its concern for the flow of information outside of his own control and the possibility that the network could become an ideal instrument to mobilize the people of Cuba against him.

In that direction, Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez had warned publicly, through her twitter account and in her words to Reuters, that Castro is doing his first steps to unravel a further attack to the cyber-dissidents in Cuba. In her own words:

“They are preparing a legal corpus to tie up by ones hands and feet Internet users, bloggers and alternative twitters”

So, it is not accidental and casual (it never was) Castro’s timing to condemn Alan Gross. His case is the perfect deathtrap, not only for the American contractor which has the advantage to be a foreigner, but for the bloggers, dissidents and independent journalists and will establish a “legal” precedent under Cuba’s judiciary system to tie up with legal tools any form of cyber-dissidence.

What it would happen to Alan Gross in the early future couldn’t be foretold. He could be use as a puppet in Castro’s hands to try to exchange for his beloved spies in American jails. Or, what it is very likeable, Castro would agree to free him as a “good will” gesture to United States to prompt solidarity within American politicians and the international community, very well fooled by him for so long.

Definitely, we are going to see, in relative short period of time, the second act of this disturbing tragicomedy in Cuba. The clock is ticking to Castro and he is not going to leave a door open to any sort of civil opposition.

The next weeks will be of a great pressure against our small cyber-society under Castro’ siege.