Secretary Clinton on Alan Gross & Cuban Five

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
From a CNN interview today with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

QUESTION: I want to ask you about Alan Gross. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer did an interview with him. He, of course, is the American who has been held in Cuba. And he – Blitzer, Mr. Blitzer, got an answer from the ambassador, the Cuban ambassador, at the Interests Section saying, look, we have the Cuban Five who are being held in just as if not worse circumstances than Mr. Gross, but we are willing to solve this on a reciprocal basis.

What would have to be done in order to free Alan Gross?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, Mr. Gross should not even be incarcerated in Cuba. Mr. Gross was not a spy. Mr. Gross was not an intelligence agent. Mr. Gross worked for a development group that was helping Cubans, principally in their small Jewish community in Cuba, to have access to the internet. And Mr. Gross, in our view, is being held without justification and has been detained already far too long. So there should be a decision by the Cuban Government to release him, and we would like to see that happen as soon as possible.

Now, we are well aware that the Cuban Government wants to see the release of their intelligence agents, five Cuban spies who were lawfully arrested, tried, and convicted for espionage. One has already served his sentence in prison. He’s continuing to finish out his parole. Another will be up for parole – all within the regular order of our system, a system that provides due process, rule of law protections. It does not have a record of arbitrary arrests or detentions like the Cuban Government does.

I am deeply distressed and unhappy for the Gross family. I’ve met with Judy Gross. People in the State Department stay in close touch with her and with her family. They have been incredibly brave in the face of this injustice. But the Cuban Government has released political prisoners, which is something we’d like to see them do with Mr. Gross.