Washington, DC – At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for Roberta Jacobson, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), called the continued incarceration of Maryland resident Alan Gross by the Cuban regime a “gross violation of human rights.” Senator Cardin asked Ms. Jacobson, if confirmed, to prioritize Alan Gross’s release, which she agreed to do.
“For nearly two years, the Cuban government has held Alan Gross under horrible terms and conditions, violating his human rights and twisting the rule of law to suit their own needs. Mr. Gross should be immediately and unconditionally released so he can return home. The health and humanitarian needs of he and his family are paramount. It’s time to elevate this issue for action by the highest levels of U.S. diplomats,” Senator Cardin said. “Be assured that I and others in positions of authority will continue to spread news of Alan Gross’ imprisonment and let the world know how Cuba is violating the rights of an individual American,” he added.
Maryland resident Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor working on a democracy program, has been held by the Cuban authorities since December 2009. In March 2011, Gross was sentenced to 15 years in prison for espionage.