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Appeal to Pope to ask Cuba's leaders to release Gross
3/26/2012 3:04:00 PM
It is our sincere hope that Pope Benedict XVI presses the Cuban government to release Alan Gross for humanitarian reasons. And we join the Jewish Community Relations Council in asking President Obama for his personal intervention to encourage the Pope to take these steps.
"The Pope is recognized around the world as a humanitarian, and a holy religious force for kindness and compassion," said Harvey Reiter, JCRC's President. "We urge the Pope to call on President Raul Castro to immediately release Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds. We believe that Papal intervention may give Alan a genuine hope for release."
We have written about the Gross issue many times, because we feel it's one that has to remain out there almost constantly. If not, the cause of releasing him could waste away in a Cuban jail.
Gross, a Potomac resident, has been imprisoned for his efforts to help the tiny Cuban Jewish community improve its access to the Internet. This is a man who has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others.
Reports indicate that Alan's physical and emotional health have deteriorated significantly. He has lost more than 100 pounds and has developed a number of serious health issues.
Since his incarceration in 2009, reports are that Gross's physical and emotional health have deteriorated dramatically. He has dropped more than 100 pounds.
Also since he was jailed, the Cuban government has said repeatedly that the U.S. should not expect any unilateral gestures towards Gross' freedom. In the meantime, the U.S. has granted Rene Gonzalez, a member of the so-called "Cuban Five," a two-week parole to visit his brother in Cuba who is dying from lung cancer. Cuba won't reciprocate. Gross's 89-year-old mother is battling lung cancer.
Every Monday for the past six months, the JCRC of Greater Washington has held a vigil outside of the Cuban Interests Section calling on the Cuban government to release Gross on humanitarian grounds.
Now we are asking the Pope to take the message to Castro's Cuba.
Gross has been there long enough. There is nothing served by further incarceration.
During this season of freedom, of Passover, we join with the Jewish Community Relations Council, in urging the Pope to seek the release of Alan Gross
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