Alan Gross Home Free After 5 Years in Cuban Prison, Thanks President Obama

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Photo: The White House

Now that President Obama has ended the isolation of Cuba, not only has he freed an imprisoned Cuban from a Cuban prison by way of a prisoner swap, he has also freed an American businessman, Alan Gross, 65, who had served five years of a 15-year sentence in a Cuban prison.

As our president is again lambasted by the absolutely useless Republican Party, it is important to remember what Mr. Gross told President Obama before his release:

“In my last letter to President Obama, I said despite my five years of captivity I said I would not want to trade places with him.”

As The Hill reported, “Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development worker imprisoned when it was discovered he helped to set up Internet access for a small Jewish community on the communist nation.”

Gross’s health had deteriorated in recent months, and his family reported he had lost more than 100 pounds, five teeth, and sight in his right eye. A lawyer for the family had warned that Gross could undertake a fatal hunger strike if he was not released soon.

In a statement issued at 12:01 E.S.T. today, the president made clear that the release of Mr. Gross was essential to moving forward with improved relations:

While I have been prepared to take additional steps for some time, a major obstacle stood in our way — the wrongful imprisonment, in Cuba, of a U.S. citizen and USAID sub-contractor Alan Gross for five years. Over many months, my administration has held discussions with the Cuban government about Alan’s case, and other aspects of our relationship. His Holiness Pope Francis issued a personal appeal to me, and to Cuba’s President Raul Castro, urging us to resolve Alan’s case, and to address Cuba’s interest in the release of three Cuban agents who have been jailed in the United States for over 15 years.

Today, Alan returned home — reunited with his family at long last. Alan was released by the Cuban government on humanitarian grounds. Separately, in exchange for the three Cuban agents, Cuba today released one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba, and who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades. This man, whose sacrifice has been known to only a few, provided America with the information that allowed us to arrest the network of Cuban agents that included the men transferred to Cuba today, as well as other spies in the United States. This man is now safely on our shores.

Earlier this month, Mr. Gross’ wife said that her husband had “paid a terrible price for serving his country and community.”

Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end. After five years of literally wasting away, Alan is done. It is time for President Obama to bring Alan back to the United States now; otherwise it will be too late.

If Republicans had had their way, Mr. Gross would still be in a Cuban prison. It cannot sit well with Republicans that it is President Obama that Mr. Gross thanked on his return to American soil. But as event today have shown, and as President Obama has been repeatedly showing not only the American people, but the world, America will continue moving forward – with or without Republicans.

9 Replies to “Alan Gross Home Free After 5 Years in Cuban Prison, Thanks President Obama”

  1. Our President is full of surprises, isn’t he? It must really suck to be a Republican right now.

    This should prove to be a very interesting two years. At first I was filled with dread, but now I’m really curious to see what’s coming next.

  2. This man spent five years of his life for something as mundane as setting up Internet service for a Jewish Community? Really? The GOP should love Communism. They want to send women to prison for spontaneous miscarriages, what’s the difference?

    Boehner, McConnell, and others on the right are seething because no matter how hard they try to destroy Obama, they can’t. They do not control events, and are placed on defense, look stupid, and say the first thing that comes to mind, no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

  3. Marco Rubio has been vomiting all over the tee-vee on the release of Mr. Gross.

    Even though Pope Francis was involved in brokering the deal, even having the final meeting at the Vatican.

    One would think that all of those devout Catholics would think this was a good thing.

  4. The President has learned an important lesson. One this whole country should know by now, you cannot trust republicans. His first year or two he would have been breaking his back trying to get them to help him do the right thing. But they would have been leaking the plans and all of them would have been screaming and lying, playing it to the hilt and Gross would have been DEAD. Then they would claim it was because President Obama didn’t get him out. After the first few months even I could have written their scripts but he kept trying. I am glad Gross knows that fact. And all his people should be ashamed to allow the treasonous scum to ever have another second of air time. The world should never hear their voices again or hear their names except as the stories of exactly how much they are hurting this country. Can we imagine Murdoch and Ailes ever doing that? The koch’s, Rove and the others will use this and give thanks to the only Gods they recognise..Power and more money.

  5. This is why I hate, despise and disgusted with republicans. They said the same thing about Sgt. Bergdalh who was held by the Taliban.

    They love when Americans rot in another country without doing anything but run to fox news braying that we stand with America but when our President actually does something to secure their freedom they whine.

    If there is a god I would hope he would pull their bones through their skin and then take a dump on quisling meatsacks

  6. That’s why I sometimes wish there really was a god. If there was a god like they claim to believe, I could at least rest assured that one day they would get what’s coming to them.

  7. To be sure, Goss was not representing American by setting up an illegal internet for Jewish people. That was a selfish act on his part.

    But he is American and as such deserves to be brought home under all circumstances

    We never heard of any attempts to get him home from Republicans. They deserve no thanks and Goss correctly thanks the right man

  8. Alan by thanking President Obama you have just been added to the list of all of the people that the Reich Wing hates. These Reich Wingers who profess and claim that patriotism belongs only to them and only they have the right to claim who and what is deemed “patriotic” hate every thing that real patriots do. Obama has proven beyond any shadow of any doubt that he is patriotic while the haters have proven only their tyranny and immaturity.

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