The U.S. State Department announced that a government contractor working in Cuba distributing free cell phones and laptops has been arrested by Cuban authorities. The detainee was employed by a subcontractor of Development Alternatives Inc., which in 2008 won a government contract to “help the U.S. government implement activities in support of the rule of law and human rights, political competition and consensus building, and to strengthen civil society” in Cuba.
No doubt the Obama administration will react negatively to this unfortunate event, which comes at a time when Washington is hoping for positive signs from Havana. Cell phones and laptops are now legal on the island, of course, so it is not clear exactly what offense has gotten this (as yet unidentified) individual arrested. But the detention of an American in Cuba is rare, so this promises to be a case that draws some attention.