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.”
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*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 9, 2013 at 11:06 am
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    Indeed, it seems the only way the US regime will do the right thing is if it becomes too costly to do otherwise. Moral arguments hold absolutely no sway with that gang of thugs. Only meaningful counter-sanctions will work with them. How about it, Europe and China? Care to put your money where your mouth is?

  • December 8, 2013 at 10:33 pm
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    Dan,
    you have twisted the facts. Yes, the US has “rationalized” our policy
    towards Cuba for decades. The Castros have not changed their dictatorship, so
    US policy has essentially used the same justification for the embargo. However,
    where are the lies? The US has been fairly straightforward in its goals for the
    Cuban people. Freedom and democracy. Our end-game for Cuba is codified in
    Federal law. Again, what lies? You enjoy mentioning our closest allies as
    opposing our Cuba policy. Really? So they vote every year against our embargo
    and then what? Does it cost the US in our trade relations with any of the 188
    no votes. Are we limited internationally in any way because of this embargo?
    You see, the US does not need to say “go f*** themselves”. Our allies
    continue to be our allies despite their UN vote. There
    is nothing new about this at all.

  • December 8, 2013 at 9:14 am
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    John, I agree with you completely. Based on the history, the hypocrisy is absolutely laughable if it weren’t also so sad. The arrogance of the American government has become a joke around the world. That “holier-than-thou” attitude is only continuing to rob the American people of the world’s respect.

    Moses, you suggested that doing the exchange of Gross for the Cuban 4 would somehow send the wrong message to other nations around the world. That’s ridiculous. To the contrary…it would send exactly the right message. Continuing to demand for the unconditional release of Alan Gross only helps to reinforce America’s arrogant reputation around the world…further endangering the American people when they travel abroad. But surprisingly, that’s not true of Cuba. Despite all the injustice to the Cuban people at the hands of the American government and their policies, the American people are still welcomed, respected, and very safe when they travel to Cuba…if they respect Cuban law.

  • December 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm
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    I almost never comment on this site any more. Between Moses and Griffin it is impossible to have a rational discussion of any issue. It is more like watching Divorce Court Live, with the constant “He said! She Said” BS that comes straight out of the Joe McCarthy/J. Edgar Hoover era. I suppose it will end only when they are both to senile to post, as changing events and happenings around the World have no effect.

    That said, Obama has the ball. The outcome of this farce, which has become a tragedy, is in his hands. Are Rubio and Menendez, et al, so powerful that they have precedence Human Rights and Justice?

    Apparently so…

  • December 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm
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    There you go again. You and your pals have been spouting the same lies and rationalizations for decades to justify these cruel and inhumane sanctions of yours. And much to your everlasting frustration, no one, not groups like Amnesty International, not even your closest allies at the UN are buying into them. Yeah, I know, the rest of the world can go f— themselves, right, Moses? It’s the New America Way!

  • December 7, 2013 at 11:01 am
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    So
    you admit that the socialist ideal against which you measure the US has never
    existed except in your socio-political wet dreams?

  • December 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm
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    Castro supporters often use this argument to taunt the US into lifting the embargo. I agree that the embargo has not had a significant effect on daily life in Cuba. Castros’ economic policies and political repression have set up an internal embargo far more devastating to Cubans. Supporting the embargo does not mean that I do not want to see it lifted. Al contrario, I loo forward to the day when the Castros are gone, all political prisoners have been released, an independent media has been made legal, and open and transparent multiparty elections have been scheduled. I will be first in line to urge my Congressmen to lift the embargo. Until that time, I support continuing the less than “devastating” US embargo.

  • December 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm
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    And you know as well as I that no government that Griffin thinks is or was socialist is and /or was nothing of the kind.
    Even a heavily indoctrinated person like you knows that socialism and communism have to be based in a worker run, bottom-up democratic economy and no country, including Cuba meets that criterion.
    Hence socialism has never existed as any professor of either political science or economics would tell you were to attend an institution of higher learning rather than the Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies from whence you derive your information and developed your magnificent ignorance of what constitutes either socialism or democracy.

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