Torture in Cuba
November 2012
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Harder Line on Cuba in Alan Push

After Election, Is Havana Confrontation Best Policy?

By Paul Berger

Published November 19, 2012, issue of November 23, 2012.

The campaign to free Alan Gross, a Jewish contract worker jailed in Cuba

for almost three years, has dramatically ramped up since

Obama's reelection.

But experts warn that the latest salvos in the battle to free Gross, led

by his wife, Judy, and a prominent lawyer, are scattershot

and potentially counterproductive.

"There is not a single, self-respecting, knowledgeable Cuba expert who

thinks this new strategy is comprehensive or has a snowball's chance of

working," said Fulton Armstrong, a former national intelligence officer

for Latin America at the CIA.

"This is a very fluid moment," added Julia Sweig, a Latin America

specialist for the Council on Foreign Relations. "It is a moment when

the Obama administration should well be getting in a room and

negotiating the terms of [Gross's] release. I would hate to see any of

this public pressure diminish or hurt that environment."

The Gross family, led by lawyer Peter Kahn, started turning up the heat

on the administration and on the Cuban government at the beginning of

this year, taking to newspapers and television to blast both sides for

using Gross as a pawn in U.S.-Cuba brinksmanship.

Since the presidential election, on November 6, the campaign has become

even fiercer.

On November 11, Jared Genser, a human rights lawyer, and Judy Gross,

staged a protest in Florida outside of a concert by the National

Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. The same day, they released a letter from

more than 500 rabbis to Cuban leader , calling for Alan's

release on humanitarian grounds and they reported Cuba to the United

Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture claiming that an insufficient

amount of medical attention they said was being given to Alan

constituted torture.

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