U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) have introduced a resolution calling on Cuba to immediately and unconditionally release Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross, who was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for bringing communications devices to the country’s Jewish community.
Gross, a Maryland native, was working for a U.S. firm called Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) to promote democracy, but Cuba convicted him of “crimes against the state.”
The resolution was introduced on the third Anniversary of Gross’s arrest and is co-sponsored by 29 of the senators’ colleagues. It also calls on the Cuban government to address Gross’s medical issues. Gross, 63, has lost more than 100 pounds while imprisoned and suffers from severe degenerative arthritis. Last week the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs released Gross’s medical records without his permission. The Cuban records release said that he does not have cancer, but independent physician Dr. Alan A. Cohen has said the released biopsy findings were inconclusive. Gross’s attorney, Jared Genser, hopes an American oncologist will be granted permission to visit and examine Gross.
If the resolution is passed, it will be the first time Congress officially condemns Gross’s arrest and calls for his release.
“Year after year, the Cuban Government continues to demonstrate why bilateral relations between our two countries remain frozen… Alan Gross should no longer be forced to suffer the consequences of political gamesmanship. Enough is enough. Alan should be immediately and unconditionally released so he can return home for medical treatment and to support his family. The health and humanitarian needs of he and his family are paramount,” said Sen. Cardin in a press conference held with Sens. Moran and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) as well as Gross’s wife Judy on Tuesday.