Alan Gross and his descent into hell
Tracey Eaton, Along the Malécon, Jan 21 2013
Under the 2005 contract, DAI became one of USAID’s go-to contractors for a range of tasks. So when USAID wanted to assign a sensitive Cuba project in Aug 2008, it turned to DAI. That project was called The Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program, or CDCPP. Now, Gross was in contact with Marc Wachtenheim, then director and founder of the Cuba Development Initiative at the Pan American Development Foundation, orPADF, another big USAID contractor.In 2004, Wachtenheim had asked Gross to deliver a video camera and other items to José Manuel Collera, former head of Freemasonry in Cuba. Gross delivered the package and the PADF paid him $400.Collera was an important contact for Wachtenheim, but turned out to be a spy. In 2011, Collera revealed that he was a state security agent known as “Agent Gerardo.” Cuban state security agents secretly caught Wachtenheim on surveillance video while he met with Collera and others.Presumably, agents could have detained Wachtenheim, but they did not interfere with his travels to the island. Wachtenheim reached out to Gross again in 2007. He gave him $5.5k and asked him to buy a Hughes model 9201 satellite terminal that was to be taken to Cuba. The equipment allows users to send information over the Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network. It’s not clear who delivered it and how it was used. The equipment may have been tied to an unrelated PADF program. Raúl Capote, a Cuban professor who worked for Cuban state security, said James Benson, a US official in Havana, delivered a portable BGAN terminal to him and said, “Marc Wachtenheim sends you this.”
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