Alan Gross Faces Death in Cuba if Obama Doesn’t Change Approach, says wife

By Dawn Gable

More than 150 family members, friends and local supporters of the Gross family came out to rally for Alan Gross' release. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
More than 150 family members, friends and local supporters of the Gross family came out to rally for Alan Gross’ release. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

HAVANA TIMES — The wife of Alan Gross, USAID subcontractor who on Tuesday marked his fourth year in a Cuban prison, held a rally outside the White House after delivering a letter to the President from her husband. The letter, and Judy’s speech to the crowd of about 150, call on Obama to get personally involved and to do “whatever it takes” to secure Alan’s release.

Mrs. Gross rejected the State Department statement yesterday calling on the Cuban Government to “release Alan Gross immediately and unconditionally” saying that this tact has gotten them nowhere for the past four years and if the U.S. government does not drop the, “unconditionally, this will be a death sentence for Alan… Please Mr. President don’t leave Alan to die in Cuba.”

Mr. Gross’s letter expressed understanding that the administration has other pressing business, but Alan reminded the President that he is “waiting in real time” for the president to take “meaningful and decisive steps.” Playing on a slogan from Obama’s first campaign, he wrote, “I’m all fired up and ready to come home.”

He pointed out to the president that the thousands of men and women serving their country around the world “must not doubt” that if they get into trouble abroad that their government has their back; the administration’s indifference to his plight tells them otherwise.

In an impromptu Q&A, Judy initially deflected when the idea of a swap for the Cuban agents serving long sentences in U.S. prisons (known as the Cuban 5*) was brought up. However, when asked if she has thought about reaching out to the wives of those Cuban prisoners, she said that it was something she is considering.

As Judy described the hardships she and her husband have endured over the last four years, it was hard to not make the comparison to the hardships endured by the Cuban anti-terrorism agents and their families: weight loss, relatives suffering illness and death, missing out on key moments in their children’s lives, lock down, etc.

One important difference is that, Judy has been able to visit Alan periodically. She said, “The Cubans are very generous with my visits.” Meanwhile, for the past 15 years the U.S. government has denied Adriana Pérez’s requests to visit her husband Gerardo Hernandez who serving a life sentence without parole.

Judy Gross read from a letter her husband, Alan Gross, wrote to President Barack Obama pleading to help in securing his release from a Cuban jail. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Judy Gross read from a letter her husband, Alan Gross, wrote to President Barack Obama pleading to help in securing his release from a Cuban jail. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

But the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, told Havana Times that while they prefer not to compare the two cases, they believe that both can be resolved if the U.S. government is willing to negotiate a humanitarian gesture-for-gesture based in mutual respect.

“The main focus of our campaign has been to ask President Obama to find a humanitarian solution…we believe [Gross’s] family has made a wise decision to focus on Obama instead of the Cuban government.  It is President Obama who has the key to solve both cases.”

This week has seen a flurry of messages to the President on Gross’s behalf. Senator Leahy drafted a letter to the president a letter, signed by nearly half of the Senate, asking the president to get personally involved. Earlier in the year, Leahy led a bicameral delegation to Cuba where they met with President Raul Castro, who is taking Gross’s case personally, according to one Congressman who was present.

Meanwhile a hand-full of Senators, led by the usual suspects Rubio and Menedez, who still will not admit that the embargo against Cuba has not worked after 50 years, wrote the President encouraging him to stick with the demand for “unconditional” release, disregarding Judy and Alan’s plea.

Representative John Delaney of Maryland’s 6th district along with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray stood with Judy Gross in front of the White House and called on the president to ensure Alan’s return. “Are we doing enough?” Delany asked. “He is not home, so no, it’s not enough.”
*Rene González, of the Cuban 5 finished his sentence and returned to Cuba recently. Fernando Gonzalez Llort is due to be paroled February 2014. Antonio Guerrero’s sentence ends September 18, 2017 and Ramón Labañino’s on October 30, 2024—just two months before Alan Gross will finish his sentence in December 2024. Thus, leaving only Gerardo Hernández to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.

20 thoughts on “Alan Gross Faces Death in Cuba if Obama Doesn’t Change Approach, says wife

  • December 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

    The fact that Obama is even paying lip-service to doing the the right thing on Cuba is an indication that the international pressure (from allies and rivals alike) may finally be getting to him. But, don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath. The chances of the US regime doing the right thing without a gun to its head is pretty slim. Your beloved genocidal embargo is probably good for another generation or two.

  • December 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    OK, Dan, why don’t you hold your breath waiting for the EU and China to sanction the US on Cuba’s behalf. 1…2…3…4…
    (Thanks for my biggest laugh of the day so far)

  • December 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

    What a limp-wristed excuse! Because other commenters don’t agree with your Castro-centric world view, you don’t want to comment? If you hadn’t noticed, Mr. Gross is being held hostage in Cuba. Only the Castros can decide his fate. Obama would have to exercise a Presidential Pardon to effect the release of the remaining four convicted Cuban spies. Do you have any idea the political capital he would have to expend to do that? Traditionally, US Presidents sign pardons on their last day in office just to avoid the shitstorm that ensues. Yes, Rubio and Menendez are powerful influences on US Cuban policy. As they should be as US Senators and, in the case of Menendez, as Chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Along with the other members of the Congressional Cuban Caucus, these men have been elected to Congress, in part, because of their views regarding US/Cuban relations. If you disagree with their views, you should work to replace them with representatives who share your leftist ideology.

  • December 9, 2013 at 11:20 am

    America’s reputation as arrogant is based on policies far beyond little Cuba. Trading four Cuban spies for an American hostage will do very little, if anything, to change that reputation. While I do not share your opposite view of the impact of this trade, I respect your right to express it. So far, the US State Department agrees with me.. Finally, Keeping American tourists bringing dollars to Cuba goes a long way toward ensuring that Americans are welcomed, respected and kept safe in Cuba.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *