Letter to Mr. Jorge Bolaños, Chief of Mission Cuban Interests Section, Embassy of Switzerland

Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen and 72 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Cuban Government urging the immediate and unconditional release of Alan Gross. Mr. Gross, who has dedicated his life to providing humanitarian assistance and was in Cuba as part of a USAID contract to provide support to members of the Cuban Jewish community when he was arrested, has been held in prison Cuba since December 3, 2009.

The full text of the letter is below:

December 1, 2011

Mr. Jorge Bolaños

Chief of Mission

Cuban Interests Section

Embassy of Switzerland

2639 16th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20009

Dear Mr. Bolaños,

It is with deep concern that we write to you regarding the ongoing imprisonment by your government of Alan P. Gross. On the eve of the second anniversary of his arrest and detention in Cuba, and with the legal process having formally concluded, his fate and that of his family now lie in the hands of your president, Raúl Castro. The Cuban Government has indicated that it would be open to resolving Mr. Gross's case through diplomatic channels. We hope that you will honor that commitment and release Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds immediately.

After two years in a Cuban prison, Mr. Gross and his family have paid an enormous personal price for his actions in Cuba. Mr. Gross has lost 100 pounds and suffers from numerous medical conditions. In addition, the Gross family situation is one that warrants compassion. As you know, Mr. Gross's daughter and mother are both fighting cancer, and his wife is struggling to make ends meet. We respectfully urge the Cuban Government to immediately release Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds and allow him to be reunited with his loved ones.

As Mr. Gross explained to both the trial Court and Cuba's Supreme Court, his intention was never to harm the Cuban Government in any way. In fact, Mr. Gross spoke in court of his affection for the Cuban people and respect for the island's sovereignty. As we mark two years since Mr. Gross has been in Cuban custody, we hope that your government will release Alan so he may return to his family.

In light of the above, Mr. Gross's continued incarceration is viewed by all Members of Congress, regardless of their political views on Cuba, as a major setback in bilateral relations. It is unlikely that any further positive steps can or will be taken by the Obama Administration or this Congress as long as Mr. Gross remains in a Cuban jail. We urge your government in the strongest possible terms to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Gross so that we can move forward.

Sincerely,

Chris Van Hollen
Sander Levin
Jared Polis
Charles Rangel
Marcy Kaptur
John Culberson
Rush Holt
Scott Garrett
Sheila Jackson-Lee
Bill Pascrell, jr.
Kathy Hochul
Charles Dent
Edward Markey
Mike Quigley
Anna Eshoo
Ted Poe
Jerrold Nadler
David Cicilline
James Himes
Peter Welch
Rodney Frelinghuysen
Joe Courtney
Jesse Jackson, Jr
Leonard Lance
Steny Hoyer
Lois Capps
Sam Farr
William Keating
C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Frederica Wilson
Adam Kinzinger
Adam Schiff
Steve Israel
Steven LaTourette
Joe Heck
Carolyn Maloney
Michael Capuano
Eliot Engel
Jan Schakowsky
Eldolphus Towns
Corrine Brown
Heath Shuler
Henry Waxman
Brian Higgins
Gary Ackerman
Gerald Connolly
Tim Ryan
John Shimkus
Dan Burton
James McGovern
Bob Filner
Gary Peters
Aaron Schock
Allyson Schwartz
John Olver
John Sarbanes
Steve Cohen
James Moran
Howard Berman
Alcee Hastings
Ted Deutch
Nita Lowey
W. Todd Akin
Barney Frank
Steve Stivers
Paul Tonko
Luis Gutierrez
Robert Dold
Joseph Crowley
Jerry Costello
Daniel Lipinski
Timothy Johnson