WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the release of Marylander Alan Gross from his wrongful imprisonment in Cuba. Senator Cardin greeted Alan Gross upon his arrival at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
“On this first day of Hanukah, which celebrates great miracles, I was proud to welcome Alan Gross home to Maryland today and to talk with him about his ordeal. This is a wonderful, and long overdue, reunion day for Alan and his wife Judy, who has shown incredible strength and courage on behalf of her husband and family throughout this time. For five years, we have been urging for his release. I want to thank President Obama and his administration for their commitment to this cause. Alan’s release marks a new day for U.S.-Cuban relations. No degree of ‘normalization’ could ever occur as long as the Cuban government was unjustly holding an innocent American citizen. We will not forget the previous transgressions of the Cuban government, but we can move on together toward a more fruitful relationship with one of our closest neighbors. A healthy and prosperous Cuba is good for the United States and will promote a more open society that respects human rights and individual freedoms.”
Gross was in Cuba to help the country’s small Jewish community establish an Intranet and improve its access to the internet, access which would allow the community to go online without fear of censorship or monitoring. After being held for 14 months without charge and then a cursory two-day trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. December 3 marked five years in Cuban custody.