Waxman's Remarks Regarding the Imprisonment of Alan Gross
Mr. Speaker, I rise today with deep concern over the plight of an American citizen overseas. Today marks two years that Alan Gross , a 62-year old international development specialist who has worked for over two decades helping people in troubled areas across the globe, has been held in a Cuban prison.
For the first fourteen months of his captivity, Mr. Gross was held without charge. In February of this year, he was charged with ``acts to undermine the integrity and independence'' of the State, then given a two-day trial and sentenced to 15 years in prison, his appeal denied.
Mr. Gross was in Cuba on behalf of USAID. He was there to help the country's small Jewish community establish an intranet and improve its access to the internet. His presence and actions were not meant to pose a threat or danger to the Cuban government. Since being incarcerated, he has lost approximately 100 pounds, his health is deteriorating, and two immediate family members, his mother and daughter, have been diagnosed with cancer.
His 15-year sentence is absurd, and his continuing incarceration is inhumane. I urge my colleagues to join me in requesting that the Cuban government release Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds as quickly as is possible.