U.S. Calls for Release of Alan Gross From Cuban Jail

This Week Marks Fourth Anniversary of Gross's Imprisonment

Alan Gross, with his wife, Judy, in Jerusalem in 2005.
Gross Family
Alan Gross, with his wife, Judy, in Jerusalem in 2005.

By Reuters

Published December 02, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The United States called on Monday for the immediate release of an American contractor jailed for the past four years in Cuba, saying his continued captivity on the communist-ruled island was “gravely disappointing.”

“Tomorrow, development worker Alan Gross will begin a fifth year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

“It is gravely disappointing, especially in light of its (Cuba’s) professed goal of providing Cubans with Internet access, that the Cuban government has not allowed Mr. Gross to return to his family, where he belongs.”

Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, for his work on a semi-covert U.S. program promoting political change on the island. Cuba has said it considered the work to be subversive.

Gross said he was in Cuba to set up communications equipment to give unrestricted Internet access to Jewish groups. A judge said that activity was a crime against the Cuban state and sentenced Gross to 15 years behind bars.

“Mr. Gross is a 64-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing aid to under- served communities in more than 50 countries. We reiterate our call on the Cuban government, echoing foreign leaders and even Cuba’s allies, to release Alan Gross immediately and unconditionally,” the State Department said.

Gross’s wife, Judy, will hold a vigil in Washington’s Lafayette Park, across from the White House, at midday on Tuesday to press for help from President Barack Obama to win her husband’s release, a lawyer for the Gross family told Reuters.

The vigil would be led by Jewish Council leaders and was to include the broadcast of a video recording from Gross, who has personally written to the president seeking his intervention in the case, said the lawyer, Scott Gilbert.

“Our view is that unless President Obama becomes personally involved in this matter, Alan Gross will die in jail.”

Gilbert said Cuba had agreed to sit down with U.S. government officials, without any pre-conditions, to discuss possible terms leading to Gross’s release and return home. But the State Department has rejected any negotiated settlement of the Gross case out of hand.

“It’s a great puzzlement to me why no decisive action has been taken on Alan Gross, particularly when Alan is imprisoned in Cuba solely because of his work on a U.S. government project,” Gilbert said.

The Gross case has often been described as an obstacle to any serious improvement in U.S. relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostility.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.