Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

American sues for $60M over ordeal in Cuba

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WASHINGTON -- An American imprisoned in Cuba for nearly three years is suing his former employer and the United States government for $60 million, saying they didn't adequately train him or disclose risks he was undertaking by doing development work on the communist island.

Alan Gross and his wife Judy sued Friday in Federal Court in Washington. The lawsuit alleges the economic development company Gross was working for in Cuba and the U.S. government, with which the company had a contract, failed to provide Gross "with the education and training that was necessary to minimize the risk of harm to him."

Gross, 63, was arrested in December 2009 while on his fifth trip to Cuba. The trip was part of a project to increase the availability of Internet access in the country. Gross was working on the effort as a subcontractor for Development Alternatives Inc., an economic development company.

The company, known as DAI, was a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. government agency that provides economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide. Cuba says its programs are a veiled attempt by Washington to undermine the government.

The lawsuit alleges Gross expressed concern about his project several times but was pressured by DAI to "finish the project or to find someone else who would." When the U.S. government learned of Gross's concerns, officials also did nothing, the lawsuit says.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2012 A22

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