Publish in Perspectives - Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Jerry Moran (R-KS), leads a group of US senators that are asking for Alan Gross' release from a Cuban prison after more than 1,000 days. (Photo: Senator Cardin's Office)
Dear President Castro:
We are writing to express our serious and ongoing concern regarding the detention of Alan Gross, an American citizen, and to urge you to release him from prison on humanitarian grounds. As you are aware, Mr. Gross was a U.S.-government subcontractor who was arrested on December 3, 2009. He was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison for alleged “actions against the independence or territorial integrity of the state.”
Since his arrest, Mr. Gross has lost 105 pounds (47.63 kg). He has degenerative arthritis and a mass behind his shoulder, which he fears may become permanent. He also suffers from mental anguish because of separation from his family, several of whom have serious medical conditions. Specifically, his daughter has been diagnosed and is being treated for breast cancer. And his 90-year-old mother, to whom he is exceptionally close, was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in February 2011. Her condition continues to deteriorate and they both fear they will be unable to see each other again.
Members of the Senate have traveled to your country, written to you and your dignitaries, and employed other creative means to encourage Mr. Gross’s release. Yet these attempts thus far have been futile, and Mr. Gross’s ongoing detention in your country presents a major obstacle to any further actions to improve our bilateral relations.
We very much hope that you will take our concerns seriously. As we approach the three-year anniversary of Alan’s imprisonment, we call on you to take action and grant him the belated release his situation warrants.
Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Kent Conrad (D-D-ND), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Al Franken (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Begich (D-AK), Dean Heller (R-NV), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), John F. Kerry (D-MA), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mark Warner (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger F. Wicker (R-TN), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Dan Coats (R-IN), Mark L. Pryor (D-AR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).