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MCM

ALAN GROSS CASE SPOTLIGHTS U.S. DEMOCRACY PROGRAMS IN CUBA
LAWSUIT FILED BY FAMILY YIELDS DOCUMENTATION ON “OPERATIONAL” NATURE OF USAID EFFORT
CONTRACTOR INTRODUCES CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS IN COURT ARGUMENTS
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 411
Posted – January 18, 2013
Edited by Peter Kornbluh

For more information contact:
Peter Kornbluh 202/994-7116 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

Washington, D.C., January 18, 2013 – The U.S. government has “between five to seven different transition plans” for Cuba, and the USAID-sponsored “Democracy” program aimed at the Castro government is “an operational activity” that demands “continuous discretion,” according to documents filed in court this week, and posted today by the National Security Archive. The records were filed by Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), one of USAID’s largest contractors, in response to a lawsuit filed by the family of Alan Gross, who was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 for attempting to set up satellite communications networks on the island, as part of the USAID program.

In an August 2008 meeting toward the end of the George W. Bush administration, according to a confidential memorandum of conversation attached to DAI’s filing, officials from the “Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program,” as the Democracy effort is officially known, told DAI representatives that “USAID is not telling Cubans how or why they need a democratic transition, but rather, the Agency wants to provide the technology and means for communicating the spark which could benefit the population.” The program, the officials stated, intended to “provide a base from which Cubans can ‘develop alternative visions of the future.'”

Gross has spent three years of a 15-year sentence in prison in Cuba, charged and convicted of “acts against the integrity of the state” for attempting to supply members of Cuba’s Jewish community with Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite communications consoles and establish independent internet networks on the island. Last year, he and his wife, Judy, sued both DAI and USAID for failing to adequately prepare, train and supervise him given the dangerous nature of the democracy program activities.

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