WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) — Saturday marks the second anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of a Potomac man, Alan Gross, on charges of crimes against the sovereignty of Cuba. As the anniversary approaches, his family is moving from quiet diplomacy to a more public outrage about his confinement, hoping to exert international pressure on Cuba to let him go.
“We’ve been respecting the Cubans by being fairly quiet because we know that they didn’t want us to make a lot of noise about the case but…it’s been two years so we can’t do that anymore. We need to let people know that Alan is there and he needs to get home,” Gross’ wife Judy told 9News Now.
Gross entered Cuba with government customs approval to bring cell phones and laptops with him, Judy Gross says.
“He was trying to help the Jewish community communicate with each other. In Cuba they’re spread out.
“There are three main communities, and it’s a big island, so it’s spread out.
“They don’t have a really good way to communicate with one another so he was helping them set up an intranet so they could make daily announcements about things that were going on or share recipes or talk about sports. He was also helping them connect outside their country,” Judy Gross said.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Christopher Van Hollen are asking congress to take a more active roll, and floor speeches are expected later this week.
“It’s the two-year anniversary of Alan Gross being in prison in Cuba. This is outrageous!
“The delay after he was detained, the trial that was a mock trial, this is an injustice. This is a human rights violation and we want the international community to know about it,” Cardin said in a Wednesday night interview.
“I’ve offered a letter to the Cubans urging them to release Alan Gross. He has serious health problems. They can do it on a humanitarian basis but, quite frankly, there is no justification for him being detained, and it is affecting the relationship between our countries, so we are asking the Cubans to release Alan Gross now, that we’re going to keep a spotlight on this so the international community knows exactly what is going on and the gross violation of human rights,” Cardin said.
Judy Gross wants more from both Cuba and the United States as she steps up her campaign.
“Is this a sense of frustration that the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to have your husband freed?” asked 9 News Now.
“I do feel frustrated about that. I will admit. I don’t know what the reason is. I know we’re coming up into an election. I know South Florida is, Florida is a swing state.
“I hate to say it and I hope I’m wrong, but I think that that may have something to do with it, that he is being very quiet. I don’t know why he hasn’t communicated with the family either, we’ve asked<" Judy Gross said.
“By he, you mean?” asked 9News Now.
“Obama, yuh,” she said.