Why is Alan Gross Still in Cuba?
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Can you imagine spending five years in a Cuban prison? We can't - and we need your help to end Alan Gross's nightmare.
Please join the Jewish community and our friends to ask President Obama why Alan Gross is still being held in Cuba, almost five years after he was imprisoned for his role in a U.S. Government project to help Cuba’s tiny Jewish community access the internet.
Alan is an American citizen who worked as a subcontractor on a project by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Alan was arrested and convicted on charges that his USAID work undermined the Cuban government.
He has languished in jail since 2009. His
sentence is 15 years.
Alan's situation is dire, and getting worse.
He spends 24 hours a day in a small cell with two other prisoners. He has
lost 100 pounds and is getting weaker and weaker. Alan recently lost
vision in his right eye and no longer can walk due to severe hip pain.
His emotional health is also deteriorating
rapidly. Being separated from his wife, Judy, and their two daughters,
Shira and Nina, has been devastating. His mother recently died - and he
could not be with her to say goodbye.
In July, shortly
after her death, Alan declared that his life in prison is not worth
living. He has said goodbye to his family and now is even refusing
visitors from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
Something must be done.
Alan went to Cuba on behalf of the U.S.
government. Five years on, it is time for the U.S. government to bring Alan
share your concern directly with President Obama by simply asking the question
– “Why is Alan Gross still in Cuba?” To do so, please follow this link.
Operation Protective Edge
On the 50th day of Operation
Protective Edge, Israel and Palestinian factions
accepted a “long term” Egyptian brokered ceasefire. This proposal is the same
one Israel has been willing to accepted since July. Israel's objective was
restoration of sustained quiet and security for the people of Israel.
After more than 4,562
rockets were fired at Israel by terrorists in Gaza, Operation
Protective Edge effectively neutralized the threat of
Hamas by destroying their terror tunnel network and weakening Hamas's strategic
capabilities in Gaza. Israel looks forward to restarting peace
negotiations with a Palestinian government committed to peace.
More than 50 soldiers from the
Mid-Atlantic region are serving as “Lone Soldiers” in the Israel Defense Forces
(IDF), many of whom took part in Operation
Protective Edge. We are so proud of these young men and
women who are a part of our community and we appreciate the sacrifice they are
voluntarily making. Select this link to
read a letter written by Jonathan, a 24 year old who grew up in suburban
Maryland, serving as a sergeant in the Givati
Brigade. Jonathan sent this letter to his family and they shared it
with the JCRC to allow our community to see the reality of current life in
Israel as a part of the IDF. We continue to pray for the safety of all the IDF
soldiers including Jonathan.
We appreciate the ongoing support from our community.
Visit the JCRC's Operation Protective Edge information page for more ways you can help.
Rabbis Call on Obama Administration to Bring Alan Gross Home
In Letter to President Obama, 300 Rabbis Urge for Immediate Release of Alan Gross
Three hundred rabbis from across the United States called on President Obama today to negotiate the immediate release of Alan Gross, an American citizen imprisoned in Cuba as a direct result of work he was doing on behalf of the U.S. government.
“Alan went to Cuba on behalf of our government. His immediate release from prison in Cuba and return to the U.S. must be a priority for our nation. Indeed, we believe this is a moral imperative,” the rabbis said in a letter to Obama. “Our communities are gravely concerned that Alan continues to languish in a Cuban prison nearly five years after his arrest. We ask, with all respect, that you take whatever steps are necessary to ensure a prompt end to Alan’s, and his family’s, continuing nightmare.”
The rabbis' letter comes as Gross, 65, has said goodbye to his wife and youngest daughter and is refusing to see any visitors.
As his health continues to deteriorate, both physically and emotionally, Gross has said he’s leaving Cuba one way or another.
To date, he has served 1,706 days in prison and is approaching the fifth anniversary of his arrest and imprisonment. Gross was a USAID subcontractor working with the Jewish community in Havana to expand access to the Internet when Cuban officials arrested him and accused him of undermining the Cuban state. Eventually, the Cuban government sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
During a recent visit with his wife, Judy, and his daughter, Nina, Gross said he could not take life in prison much longer and said his goodbyes. In addition, Gross is refusing to see visitors from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, including the new chief of mission.
“Alan has withdrawn, and he told me that his life in prison is not a life worth living,” said Scott Gilbert, Gross’s attorney. “He’s confined to a small cell for 24 hours a day. He’s lost most of the vision in his right eye. His hips are failing and he can barely walk. He has stopped all attempts to exercise. Alan’s emotional deterioration has been severe, and his mother’s lingering and painful death has only accelerated this.”
Judy Gross, who has campaigned for Alan's release from prison since he was first arrested, described her last visit with Alan as "traumatic."
"I've never seen Alan in such bad shape during all the years that the Cuban government has kept him in prison," Judy Gross said. "Our daughter, Nina, was unprepared to see how gaunt and physically frail her father has become. And his decision to say goodbye to us was wrenching.”
"I am imploring both the U.S. and Cuban governments to do the humane thing and agree to let Alan come home," she said. "Time is running out."
The full text of the letter is available here.