Alan P. Gross Backgrounder
- Alan P. Gross is a 62-year old international development specialist. He has a background in social work. He resides in the Washington, DC area with his wife of over 40 years, Judy Gross. Alan and Judy have two adult daughters.
- Alan has done community and international development work for over 25 years. His work has positively impacted the lives of people in over 50 countries, including the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Haiti. His work has always focused on helping people.
- Alan has never had any legal trouble in any of the countries he has visited or worked in, until now.
- Alan has been held in a maximum-security military hospital facility in Cuba since shortly after his arrest on December 3, 2009.
- For the first 14 months in captivity, Alan was held without charge. In February 2011, he was charged with “acts to undermine the integrity and independence” of Cuba. After a two day trial, he was convicted in March 2011 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. His appeal to the Cuban Supreme Court was denied on August 5, 2011.
- Alan’s health has deteriorated tremendously. He has lost approximately 100 pounds while incarcerated. He is suffering from a number of serious health issues, some of which we fear may become permanent.
- Alan is under extreme mental strain. In August 2010, the Gross’s 26-year old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent, and is recovering from, a double mastectomy. As her father, Alan is understandably distraught that he cannot be by her side to provide her the emotional support she needs at this difficult time.
- Alan’s wife, Judy, recently underwent surgery as well. She had to miss considerable time from work and only recently has been able to return full time. With Alan’s incarceration, Judy has lost the primary “bread winner” in the family. Thus, in addition to the obvious mental trauma of her husband’s incarceration, she is suffering significant financial hardship which is causing great stress for her, Alan and the entire family.
- In addition, Alan’s 89-year old mother was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in February 2011. Both Alan and his mother fear that they will never see each other again.
- Judy Gross has written personal appeals to President Raúl Castro to release her husband for humanitarian and health reasons. Alan Gross also made personal, written appeals to President Castro, going as far as offering to return to Cuba for the conclusion of his case in exchange for being permitted to travel to the U.S. to be with his daughter while she was fighting for her life. These were denied.
About Alan’s Work in Cuba
- Alan’s work in Cuba - on behalf of USAID - was with the peaceful, non-dissident, Jewish community. His work was humanitarian. Alan was in Cuba to help a small community establish an Intranet and improve its access to the Internet. He did not provide anyone with satellite telephones as has been incorrectly reported. In fact, on at least one occasion, Alan’s bags were searched by Cuban authorities and, after paying a tax, he was freely allowed to enter the country with the equipment he was carrying.
- Alan holds great affection for the Cuban people and culture, and neither his presence nor actions in Cuba were ever meant to, or in fact did, pose any threat or danger to the Cuban government. As he stated at his trial and once again before the Cuban Supreme Court, he never intended his actions to subvert or overthrow the Cuban government.
Examples of Alan’s Work Around the World
- Strengthening the community relations function of a mining operation in Baluchistan, Pakistan. Specifically, Alan helped to develop a community outreach plan and interacted with the locals to help them identify business partners.
- Assisting efforts to create jobs in the West Bank and Gaza to support a sustainable economic growth strategy. Alan assisted Palestinian and Israeli counterparts in designing a system of policies, procedures and mechanisms to facilitate trade between Israel and the West Bank.
- Supporting internationally-recognized dairy and agriculture improvement projects in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and the West Bank. Alan helped to design and implement these programs to help local farmers improve their yields.
List of Important Dates
- December 3, 2009: Alan P. Gross (“Alan”) is arrested and incarcerated in Havana, Cuba. At the time of his arrest, Alan weighs approximately 250 lbs.
- March 2010: Alan has lost approximately 70 lbs. since his arrest.
- Late-July 2010: Judy Gross is allowed to visit Alan for the first time since his arrest.
- August 2010: Alan’s then 26-year old eldest daughter is diagnosed with breast cancer.
- October 2010: Alan has lost approximately 90 lbs. since his arrest.
- December 3, 2010: One-year since Alan’s arrest and detention, he is still not charged with any crime.
- February 4, 2011: Alan is charged with “actions against the independence of the territorial integrity of the State.”
- Mid-February 2011: Alan’s 89-year old mother is diagnosed with inoperable cancer. At the same time, Alan’s eldest daughter undergoes a double-mastectomy.
- March 4–5, 2011: Alan’s trial in Cuba takes place over the course of two days.
- March 12, 2011: The Cuban court sentences Alan to 15 years in prison for the crime of “acts against the independence of the territorial integrity of the State.”
- March 24, 2011: Alan’s Cuban lawyer files his appeal of the trial court’s decision and sentence with the Cuban Supreme Court.
- June 2011: Alan has lost approximately 100 lbs. since his arrest.
- Mid-June 2011: Judy Gross undergoes surgery for an undisclosed medical issue.
- July 22, 2011: Appellate oral argument is held before the Supreme Court of Cuba.
- August 5, 2011: The Cuban Supreme Court rejects Alan’s appeal and affirms his 15-year sentence.
Alan Gross in the Media
Judy and Alan Gross's family is at heart of standoff
The Washington Post
May 21, 2010
Exclusive: American held in Cuba expresses regret to Raul Castro
October 24, 2010
Op-Ed by Judy Gross
The Miami Herald
November 7, 2010
Cuba's Jewish hostage
The Washington Post
December 6, 2010
Woes pile up for family of U.S. contractor in Cuba
February 24, 2011
Jailed American awaits Cuban court decision
June 23, 2011
Cuban court rejects appeal by U.S. contractor
The Washington Post
August 5, 2011
Havana's American hostage
The Washington Post
August 12, 2011
Statements by Government Officials and Community Leaders
Leaders Speak out about Alan Gross
Congress Writes Letter to Cuban Ambassador Bolanos
Urging for the Immediate Release of Alan Gross
Statements from the White House about Alan Gross