FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 3, 2012
Washington, D.C. –Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement on the 3rd anniversary of American humanitarian aid worker Alan Gross’ imprisonment by the Cuban regime:
“Today marks three years since Alan Gross, a humanitarian aid worker and U.S. citizen, was arrested and imprisoned for the so-called ‘crime’ of helping Cuba’s small Jewish community access the internet. During his three years in prison, Mr. Gross has lost more than 100 pounds and is suffering from a growth on his shoulder that has neither been properly diagnosed, nor treated.
“The continued, unjustifiable imprisonment of the ailing Mr. Gross is a grim reminder of the true nature of the Castro regime which brutally oppresses Cuba’s pro-democracy activists, suppresses all outside information, and maintains a stranglehold on all aspects of daily life in Cuba. Mr. Gross’ imprisonment and fifteen-year sentence for attempting to bring internet access to a small group of Cubans is yet another example of the ruthless nature of the totalitarian regime.
“The Obama Administration should abandon its failed policy of providing unilateral concessions to the Castro dictatorship in the form of expanded travel, increased remittances, and the granting of U.S. visas to high-level regime operatives. It is time for the Administration to stop appeasing the Castro dictatorship and its egregious human rights record, and immediately cease the channeling of U.S. currency to the Cuban people’s oppressors.
“At the time of his arrest, Mr. Gross was engaged in America’s noble effort to bring outside information to the Cuban people. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly lists the ‘right … to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’ as an essential liberty. His imprisonment, and the regime’s brutal oppression of pro-democracy activities, demonstrates the pressing need for increased solidarity with Cuba’s pro-freedom opposition and a deepened commitment to assisting the Cuban people in their struggle for basic liberties.”