CAFE recognizes that the release of USAID’s subcontractor Alan Gross, currently imprisoned in Cuba serving a 15 year prison term, and that of the three remaining members of the Cuban 5 will be a paramount step for improving the political relations between Washington and Havana. To this end and interested on cooperating with the efforts of Alan Gross’ family, we met Scott Gilbert, Mr. Gross’s lawyer. Mr. Gilbert graciously met with four members of the CAFE executive board (Arturo Lopez-Levy, Raul Morejon, Ernesto Cabo, and Jhon Cores) at the office of his firm.
Although Mr. Gilbert expressed gratitude to Arturo Lopez-Levy for his previous involvement in the issue, this is the first encounter between him and CAFE as a group. During the meeting, Mr. Gilbert stressed his concern over Mr. Gross’s deteriorating physical and emotional condition, and the need to take advantage of a small and ever-narrowing window for constructive engagement between the US and Cuba on this issue. The members of CAFE took notice of this situation and concurred with Mr. Gilbert on the urgency of both governments taking proper and timely actions. CAFE notes that if this had occurred in a timely way, we could have avoided the tragedies of Alan Gross and Gerardo Hernandez being prevented from attending to their dying mothers.
We agree with Mr. Gilbert that there is a growing awareness in the American public about Alan Gross’s tragedy. More Americans and Cuban Americans are becoming more conscious about the flawed logic and deviations from International development aid standards that led to his detention in Cuba. We also take notice of the growing demand among Cuban and American citizens and political leaders for some presidential leadership in this issue. CAFE also knows that both trials against the Cuban Five and Alan Gross were considered by the U.N. Group on Arbitrary Detention as failing the minimal requirements of fairness and impartiality.
The members of CAFE unequivocally support Mr. Gilbert’s call to the Obama Administration for an immediate solution of this issue. CAFE urges presidents Obama and Raul Castro to hear the wise voice of Senator Patrick Leahy and others who support a reasonable solution to these issues based on humanitarian gestures of the Cuban and the American governments. CAFE also advocates for parallel goodwill gestures of prisoners’ release in Cuba and the United States referring to Alan Gross and the remaining in prison three of the Cuban five. As Cubans and Americans, we believe that such action would have an enormous positive impact for Cuba, the United States and Latin America.