Laritza Diversent Weighs In on the Conviction of Alan Gross

Interviewed for Radio Martí, and in a first reaction to the sentence of 15 years in prison authorized by a court in Havana for the U.S. contractor Alan Gross, lawyer and independent journalist Laritza Diversent said the crime – if it existed – didn’t deserve such a penalty.

Diversent explained that the act of distributing equipment to connect to the Internet does not attack the independence and security of the Cuban state, and, therefore, he could have been given a less severe sentence.

The blogger also said that the stipulation in Law 88, the “Gag Law,” could have been used for a lighter sentence, as it took into account that whoever distributes equipment of any kind from the United States or private entities shall be punished with a fine.

According to Laritza, the purpose of harshly punishing a U.S. citizen was, before all else, a fact that has political significance, since it further constrains the deteriorating relations between Washington and Havana. And she thought the sentence could serve several purposes.

One could be the intention of exchanging the contractor for the five Cuban spies imprisoned in the United States. Another would be to give an “exemplary lesson” to people and institutions around the world who try to help the nascent civil society on the island, said Laritza Diversent from Havana.

Translated by Regina Anavy

March 13 2011