Daily Israel Report

Gross: 'It's Very Comforting to Know I'm Not Forgotten'

Alan Gross thanks Jewish community for efforts in attempting to secure his release; Says, "It's very comforting to know I'm not forgotten."
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/25/2012, 1:13 PM

Cuban President Raul Castro
Cuban President Raul Castro
Reuters

Alan Gross, the American contractor jailed in Cuba on espionage charges, thanked the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) for their efforts in attempting to secure his release, the group said in a statement Monday.   

"It's very comforting to know I'm not forgotten, it helps to sustain me," Gross said, according to the statement.

The JCRC continues to call "upon the Cuban government to end its unconscionable incarceration of Alan immediately," according to a statement released by the organization.

The group has been taking measures seeking to create pressure for Gross’ release, including weekly vigils outside the Cuban interest section in the US capital, the AFP reported.

Members said that they spoke to Gross by phone for half an hour last week.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 for distributing laptops and communications devices to members of Cuba's small Jewish community under a US State Department contract. He was found guilty in March 2011 of "acts against the independence or territorial integrity" and sentenced to 15 years prison.   

Gross said he had received letters from students at a Washington DC-area Jewish school, which "brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face."   

To date, Cuba has refused to release Gross even temporarily in mother and daughter, both of whom suffer from cancer.

"The cruelty to my mother is difficult to bear," Gross said in the phone call.   

Gross’ wife had hoped that the decision of a Miami judge in March to temporarily release the convicted Cuban spy, Rene Gonzalez, allowing him the opportunity to visit his ailing brother who suffers from lung cancer, would provide Cuba with an incentive to reciprocate the act of good will. Her hopes, however, have yet to be actualized.

He nonetheless described the Cuban people as "wonderful, friendly, creative, and patient."   

Recently, Cuba has indicated that they would consider releasing Gross if the United States frees members of the so-called “Cuban Five,” found guilt in 2001 of trying to infiltrate US military installations in South Florida.

While Cuba has acknowledged that the men were intelligence agents, the government claims that they were gathering information on "terrorist" plots by Cuban expatriates in Florida, not spying on the United States.