News / USA

US Calls for Release of American Jailed in Cuba

FILE - Protesters hold signs in support of Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor jailed in Cuba for crimes against the state, at a rally for his release in West Palm Beach, Florida, Nov. 11, 2012.
FILE - Protesters hold signs in support of Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor jailed in Cuba for crimes against the state, at a rally for his release in West Palm Beach, Florida, Nov. 11, 2012.
Reuters
The United States called on Monday for the immediate release of an American contractor jailed for the past four years in Cuba, saying his continued captivity on the communist-ruled island was “gravely disappointing.”
 
“Tomorrow, development worker Alan Gross will begin a fifth year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
 
“It is gravely disappointing, especially in light of [Cuba's] professed goal of providing Cubans with Internet access, that the Cuban government has not allowed Mr. Gross to return to his family, where he belongs,” the statement read.
 
Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, for his work on a semi-covert U.S. program promoting political change on the island. Cuba has said it considered the work to be subversive.
 
Gross said he was in Cuba to set up communications equipment to give unrestricted Internet access to Jewish groups. A judge said that activity was a crime against the Cuban state and sentenced Gross to 15 years behind bars.
 
“Mr. Gross is a 64-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing aid to underserved communities in more than 50 countries. We reiterate our call on the Cuban government, echoing foreign leaders and even Cuba's allies, to release Alan Gross immediately and unconditionally,” the State Department said.
 
Gross's wife, Judy, will hold a vigil in Washington's Lafayette Park, across from the White House, at midday on Tuesday to press for help from President Barack Obama to win her husband's release, a lawyer for the Gross family said.
 
The vigil would be led by Jewish Council leaders and was to include the broadcast of a video recording from Gross, who has personally written to the president seeking his intervention in the case, said the lawyer, Scott Gilbert.
 
“Our view is that unless President Obama becomes personally involved in this matter, Alan Gross will die in jail,” said Gilbert.
 
Gilbert said Cuba had agreed to sit down with U.S. government officials, without any pre-conditions, to discuss possible terms leading to Gross's release and return home. However, the State Department has rejected any negotiated settlement of the Gross case out of hand.
 
“It's a great puzzlement to me why no decisive action has been taken on Alan Gross, particularly when Alan is imprisoned in Cuba solely because of his work on a U.S. government project,” Gilbert said.
 
The Gross case has often been described as an obstacle to any serious improvement in U.S. relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostility.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid