Merkley Statement on Release of Alan Gross from Cuban Custody and Resetting U.S. Policy with Cuba

PORTLAND, OR—Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement today regarding the release of the humanitarian worker Alan Gross after five years of imprisonment in Cuba.

“I was relieved and pleased to learn of the release of Alan Gross, ending his five-year battle for freedom from Cuban custody.  Mr. Gross’ detention was unjust, unfair and tragic and an extraordinary price to pay for his humanitarian work.   

“This is a tremendous day for Mr. Gross and his family, who remained vigilant and worked tirelessly to end his imprisonment and bring him home.  The timing of Mr. Gross’ release during Hanukkah, a holiday commemorating hope in the face of struggle, makes Mr. Gross’ freedom and this holiday even more meaningful and joyous.

“Today also marked a big step forward in American efforts to pressure the Cuban regime towards greater individual freedom, respect for personal rights, and expanded economic opportunities. Giving the Cuban people greater access to the technological and economic resources necessary for individuals to share information, to start and grow small businesses, and interact with the world is a valuable step toward these strategic goals.  I support the administration’s steps towards normalization of our relations with Cuba to break beyond long-standing barriers and to put in place a strategy that will truly incentivize the Cuban government to improve the lives and rights of their people.”