Alan Gross, an Old, Deceived and Sick Gringo / Iván García

Photo: AP. Alan Gross arrives at court surrounded by guards.

The saga of espionage used by the government of Cuba against U.S. contractor Alan Gross, 61, could end in the coming days when the prosecutor announces the final penalty.

Gross’s trial, with the prosecution asking for 20 years in prison, was adjourned pending sentencing on Saturday, March 5, at the 10th of October Court of Justice, situated in Havana’s most populous municipality.

The official press released a simple statement which reported that “U.S. citizen Alan Gross acknowledged that he had brought into the country computer equipment and satellite dishes to form parallel networks, which are not authorized by the government. ”

It said that Gross was provided all the legal safeguards stated in the Cuban Constitution and that he admitted having been deceived by the company he works for, Development Alternatives, contracted by the State Department, and by the Department of State itself.

According to the report released by the Cuban state media, the contractor complained of economic losses and family hardship during his 15 months of imprisonment on the island.

In parallel with the case of the Jewish contractor, State television announced on Monday, March 7, a new chapter of denunciations of actions by the U.S. against Cuba, and that on this occasion it will stress the satellite communications, precisely what happened to Gross, and will provide “hard evidence” of Washington’s interference.

Anyway, despite the regime’s gibberish about the Gross case, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that the penalty could be waived or greatly reduced from the 20 years requested by the prosecutor.

While the fate of a gringo, old and sick, and according to him, deceived, depends on the good will of the government of Raúl Castro, in the back room a new wave of spies is being cooked up. In addition to submitting photos and videos of the American’s activities in Cuba, they will take the opportunity to try to discredit to the utmost the opposition, independent journalists and the local blogosphere.

A threatened and even more discredited dissidence would make it nonviable as a catalyst for future popular unrest.

The real enemy of the Castros is not Gross. The American is nothing more than a good currency of exchange. It’s not bad for negotiating with the Yankees. Or as a political show. Little more.

Translated by Regina Anavy

March 8 2011