Commentary on third anniversary of the arrest of Alan Gross
Yesterday, December 3rd, marked the third anniversary of the Cuban dictatorship's arrest of innocent American aid worker Alan Gross. Since then, Gross has been held for ransom in a Cuban gulag as the Castro regime attempts to trade his liberty for something of value.
Here is some commentary on the anniversary.
Alan Gross Begins Fourth Year of Unjust Imprisonment
Press StatementMark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the SpokespersonWashington, DC
December 3, 2012
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.
Alan Gross Begins His Fourth Year In A Cuban Prison
Alan Gross begins his fourth year in a Cuban prison tomorrow, having been jailed on December 3rd, 2009.
[...] 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 imprisonment, 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.
Three-Years Later: Time For Pressure
On December 3rd, 2009, American development worker Alan Gross was taken hostage by the Castro regime in Cuba.
Why does the Castro regime feel so empowered?
For a couple of reasons.
Because initially the Gross family's legal team urged the family to keep a low profile, thinking it could negotiate his release. (The family ended that representation earlier this year.)
Alan's wife, Judy, told the AP this week that the diplomatic strategy failed:
"Part of the reason Gross' case isn't better-known has to do with strategy. For two years after he was arrested, Judy Gross and her then-lawyer tried working quietly through diplomatic channels. They talked to reporters, but appearances were limited."
"The quiet, diplomatic way wasn't working," Judy Gross said.
Moreover, because the Castro regime has yet to feel any repercussions for this hostage-taking.
As we wrote in The Wall Street Journal in September:
"The [Obama] Administration initially used diplomatic mechanisms to try to negotiate Mr. Gross's release. These included a high-profile visit to Havana in January 2011 by then-Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Roberta Jacobson.
Ostensibly this was for the Cuba Migration Talks, which are part of a process to ensure safe and legal migration from Cuba. But Ms. Jacobson was the highest-level official ever to represent the U.S. at the talks, and it was hoped she could intercede on behalf of Mr. Gross. Nothing happened.
Common sense suggests that at this point the Obama administration should have toughened its stance by making clear that there would be repercussions if Mr. Gross was not released. Instead, the administration began another round of easing sanctions the next week."
Hasn't the time come to ratchet-up pressure on the Castro regime?