At least 14 witnesses testified at the Havana trial of U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross last week, including Cuban intelligence agents and members of the island’s Jewish community, the State Department’s top man on Cuba has reported.
A Cuban government communiqué meanwhile said prosecutors presented evidence of Gross’ participation “in the introduction and development in our country of a subversive project to try to topple the revolution.”
A verdict is expected within days in the case of Gross, facing national security charges that could send him to prison for up to 20 years. An announcement of the sentence could take a few weeks.
Gross was arrested in Havana in late 2009 after he delivered at least one satellite telephone and other communications equipment as part of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) effort to assist Jewish and other non-government groups in Cuba. A string of recent Cuban television reports — the last one broadcast Monday night — allege that the satellite phones for Internet connections were just the latest tactic in Washington’s long campaign to overthrow the communist government in Havana.
The documentary mentioned everything from the CIA-organized Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 to a streak of bombings of Havana tourist sports in 1997 — but surprisingly made no mention of Gross or the equipment he delivered.
Cuban law makes it illegal for its citizens to receive assistance provided by USAID or other U.S. government agencies. Havana officials brands recipients as ‘‘mercenaries.”
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