Our Jew In Havana

3 Feb


I first became aware of the sad story of Alan Gross, a 62 year old American Jew who has been languishing in a Cuban prison since December 2009, when I chatted with Cuban-born historian and memoirist Carlos Eire.This was by way of his illustrating the unceasing, relentless oppression existing under the triumphant Cuban Revolution.

Though I once a believer in the righteousness of the Cuban Revolution ,I have since come to understand that noone is on the side of the angels in the long history of Cuban-American relations. Most reports of the Gross case (previously I have only read American coverage)staunchly (if not avidly) proclaim the cruelty and injustice being visited on poor Mr Gross who, when one hears the details of his life ( heart condition,daughter with cancer,lost life savings) becomes a latter day Job.

While I do advocate the release of poor M.r Gross it seems there are some additional factors to consider—which is to say that case is not exactly the way it has previously been portrayed John Perry at the London Review of Books reviews the Gross case and points out:

It suits the US government to portray Gross as an innocent aid worker who over-stepped the mark in an authoritarian state. But USAID is known throughout Latin America as a front organisation for the State Department’s political agenda. Part of its work is genuine aid, but much of its so-called democracy building is aimed at undermining governments that the US regards as wayward or undesirable.

Perry then quotes former US NAtional Security Council staffer Fulton Armstrong:

…he poured scorn on the USAID programmes and the use of a ‘covert operator’ such as Gross. He says that the programmes are an enormous waste of money, employing people who are not fully briefed and don’t understand the country. Furthermore, Washington evidently knows what its operators may not, that the Cuban government has thoroughly penetrated the programmes and knows exactly what people like Gross are doing.

What is one to think now? Maybe its a good time to read Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana or John Le Carre’s Our Tailor In Panama—both also very amusing films.

Currently reading A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe (Atlantic Monthly Press)

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3 Responses to “Our Jew In Havana”

  1. hdinin February 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    So I’m not sure what you’re saying. You saying Gross was an operative, but all of his intelligence consisted of nefarious dealings of the Mahjong Club of Temple Beth Ropa VIeja, which he fabricated? What does his being Jewish have to do with this? What do two masterful satires about the silliness of Anglo intrigues in Latin and Caribbean America have to do with this?

    • RB February 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      Temple Old Clothes is a well known hot bed of revanchist kosher running dogs.

  2. Phil February 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    🙂 Now I’m wondering what “Our Man (Jew) in Havana”‘s role might be?

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