For nearly two years, Maryland resident Alan Gross has been held in a Cuban prison under charges of espionage. Local officials and his family deny the charges.
Gross is a subcontractor with the federal government’s development agency USAID. While in Cuba, Gross brought banned electronic equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community and was found guilty of spying. Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin says the Cuban government is breaking international law.
“Clearly the Alan Gross case is an example of human rights violations by Cuba," says Cardin. "They are just illegally detaining an American.”
Cardin is asking the State Department to “elevate this issue for action by the highest levels of U.S. diplomats.” He says it’s important for Cuba’s allies and trading partners to be reminded of the detention of Gross, so they can help the U.S. win his freedom.
“We think they’re doing it to try to have leverage against America. We want this elevated so the international community knows that there’s a human rights abuse by Cuba," says Cardin.
Judy Gross, the wife of the detained American, is urging the public to call elected officials in order to increase pressure on the Cuban government to release her husband.