Beginning in 2009, Alan traveled to Cuba five times to implement the USAID project. To increase Internet access and connectivity at Cuban synagogues, Alan loaned information and communications technology (ICT) devices such as cell phones, wireless technologies, personal computers, and other computer network devices to local community members at each project site, tested the equipment, and then trained citizens to use the equipment.
Alan understood that Cuba and the U.S. had strained relations, and that the Cuban government attempted to control or limit its citizens’ access to media. But he did not know that distributing anything funded (in whole or in part) by USAID could be viewed as a crime in Cuba. As a U.S. citizen working on a project publicly sponsored and funded by the U.S. government, Alan never thought that he was at risk of imprisonment in Cuba.
On December 3, 2009, the night before Alan was scheduled to return to the U.S. from his fifth trip to Cuba and moments after he concluded a phone call with his wife, he was arrested by Cuban officials. The Cuban government held him for 14 months without charge. After a summary trial in March of 2011, a Cuban court determined that Alan had attempted to undermine the Cuban government by distributing communications systems not under government control – the very work USAID sent him to Cuba to do. The court convicted Alan of “acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state,” and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
After over 4 years in a Cuban jail, isn't it time to petition President Obama to bring home Alan Gross? His struggle has been ongoing as he was jailed for bringing in computer technology for the Jewish community in Cuba over 4 years ago. His health has been deteriorating and the freedoms of press that we have here in America were sorely overlooked by the Cuban government when he traveled there. The Long Island government contractor has been petitioning the US government to release him but the efforts have fallen short as Mr. Gross has had little chance for freedom accused of spying in Cuba and losing a long struggle to eradicate him from his Cuban prison cell. Will the US make efforts to free Alan Gross or will Cuba become the next Egypt where the fear of press freedoms and our efforts to eradicate the invisable silent population be overlooked? Please make every effort to help this man towards freedom and be returned to his Long Island family. Free Alan Gross.