Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, this Saturday marks the third anniversary since American U.S. AID worker Alan Gross was arrested and unjustly imprisoned in Cuba. It is the third year in a row that the Gross family will prepare to spend another holiday season without their beloved husband, father, and son.
Alan Gross, a resident of Maryland and a long time international development worker, traveled to Cuba in 2009 to help the island's small Jewish community establish better internet access. Upon his arrival, Mr. Gross declared all of his electronic items with Cuban customs officials. Yet on December 3, 2009, he was arrested and subsequently detained for 14 months without any charges filed against him. Earlier this year, he was charged with ``acts to undermine the integrity and independence'' of Cuba. Mr. Gross, a non-Spanish speaking man in his 60's who has worked on development projects in over 50 countries, certainly was not trained or equipped to engage in subterfuge.
Alan Gross has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. This preposterous sentence has caused tremendous emotional pain and financial hardship for his family, and devastated the Jewish community. Alan's daughter is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, and his 89 year old mother is in poor health and fears she will never see her son again. Alan's wife, Judy, has been caring for her ill daughter and mother-in-law while working full time to support her family. Alan himself is suffering from severe health problems due to a lack of medical treatment during his incarceration.
In October, Governor Bill Richardson traveled to Cuba with the intent to discuss Alan Gross' release. During this visit, which had been approved by the Cuban Government, Governor Bill Richardson was denied even a single meeting with Alan to assess his health. Subsequently, the Cuban government refused to discuss Alan's case with Governor Richardson.
The Castro regime has chosen to align itself with the most repressive and violent regimes in the world, counting among its friends the Venezuelan and Iranian regimes. These regimes have disregarded judicial processes in order to unjustly hold American citizens to use as leverage. We will not sit idly by and allow an American citizen to suffer at the hands of these tyrants. The Castro regime must immediately allow Alan to receive proper medical treatment and take the necessary steps to bring him home to his family as soon as possible.
My colleagues and I will continue to speak out on behalf of Alan, his family, and the Jewish community, and continue to use every tool at our disposal to secure Alan's immediate release.