American jailed in Cuba sues contractor and U.S. government
Alan and Judy Gross during a vacation trip to Israel.
November 16th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

American jailed in Cuba sues contractor and U.S. government

By Jill Dougherty

An American imprisoned in Cuba, along with his wife in the United States, is suing the U.S. government and the group for which he worked, citing what they call an "abject failure to advise, train and protect him."

Alan Gross, 63, has been held in a Cuban prison since December 2009. He was arrested for bringing in banned communications equipment as part of a State Department program to spread democracy and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Grosses claim that both the U.S. government and the contractor, Development Alternatives Inc., based in Bethesda, Maryland, "failed to disclose adequately to Mr. Gross, both before and after he began traveling to Cuba, the material risks that he faced due to his participation in the project."

The suit also charges that the State Department and DAI failed to provide him with education and training that were necessary to minimize the risk of harm to him, and should have delayed the project "until the risks subsided."

Instead, the couple allege, the company wanted to complete the project quickly "under part of a broader and very lucrative contract with the U.S. government."

"Both DAI and the U. S. government ignored Mr. Gross' repeated security concerns," the suit charges, "so that DAI could continue to generate significant revenue and the government could continue to use Mr. Gross as a pawn in its overall Cuba policy initiatives."

Gross, his lawyers and family say, is battling chronic arthritis pain and "what appears to be a cancerous tumor beneath his shoulder blade. His business and career have been destroyed, and his family has been deprived of their primary wage earner."

In September, the Cuban government disputed reports that Alan Gross' health is failing.

A spokesman for DAI said the group is disappointed that the lawsuit was filed, calling Gross "a colleague and friend whom we respect."

"As much as we would like to address the numerous disagreements we have with the content of the complaint, the fact is that doing so will not advance the cause of bringing Alan home, which remains our highest priority," said Steven O'Connor, director of communications for DAI, in a statement e-mailed to CNN. "We are confident that we will have a chance to tell DAI's side of this story in due course."

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    November 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
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    November 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      You do not even know what that equipment was: or can you read between the lines? Tell me then: I have got no insight whatsoever from that article except for a fancy program name that they have used for a cover!
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  81. kasper

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  82. Jannai

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      November 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  83. alan fischer

    Deport all Cubans back to Cuba

    November 17, 2012 at 6:25 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Such is to be expected from someone like you with your obvious limitations, alan. You sound like another right-wing, Cuba hating, dimwitted Tea Partier. Are you one by any chance? Like Willie said already, we need to normalize relations with Cuba which is 50 years overdue!!!

      November 17, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • eli camp

      First of all, your sick of even saying such a thing, maybe you should trace your heritage and be deported to where ever that is. It was fault of the company in which he worked for for not giving him the informaiton he needed to know ahead of time, and his for being the mule.

      November 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  84. Willie12345

    If it wasn't for the current U.S. idiotic policies toward Cuba, this man most probably wouldn't be lavishing in a Cuban jail right now. We need to normalize relations with Cuba and let bygones by bygones. This shows just how stupid the leaders in Washington are! Besides, I want to take a trip to Cuba myself and deeply resent this stupid government forbidding me to do so!

    November 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
    • duhwillie

      Lavishing in a jail? Go look up the word, Willie.

      November 17, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
    • JohnParryJones

      Lavishing?

      November 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony

      Better to.lavish than to languish!

      November 19, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply

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