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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid