Alan Gross begins his fourth year in a Cuban prison tomorrow, having been jailed on December 3, 2009. The State Department issued a good statement:
Tomorrow Alan Gross will begin his fourth year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba. He was arrested on December 3, 2009 and later given a 15-year prison sentence by Cuban authorities for simply facilitating communications between Cuba’s Jewish community and the rest of the world.
Mr. Gross is a 63-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing assistance and support to underserved communities in more than 50 countries.
Since his arrest, Mr. Gross has lost more than 100 pounds and suffers from severe degenerative arthritis that affects his mobility, and other health problems. His family is anxious to evaluate whether he is receiving appropriate medical treatment, something that can best be determined by having a doctor of his own choosing examine him.
We continue to ask the Cuban Government to grant Alan Gross’s request to travel to the United States to visit his 90-year-old mother, Evelyn Gross, who is gravely ill. This is a humanitarian issue.
The Cuban government should release Alan Gross and return him to his family, where he belongs.
Thus far all the efforts by the United States government to free Mr. Gross have been unsuccessful. Those efforts are undermined every time an American tourist visits Cuba, there to play at the beach and deliver hard currency to the Castro regime. I regret that the Obama administration has not tightened up again on travel to Cuba in response to Mr. Gross’s continued imprisonement, and that Americans who know nothing about the treatment of their fellow citizen--or worse are indifferent to it--continue to visit Cuba. Until the regime begins to see more than words from the State Department’s spokesman, until they suffer some real harm from the treatment of Mr. Gross, it may be impossible to free him. Let us hope that conclusion is too pessimistic.